Chanel Fall 2024 couture
Photography courtesy of Chanel

What You Didn’t See at the Chanel Fall 2024 Couture Show

The heat, the celebs and oh-so many intricate details.

I’ve had many unique experiences in my career: hugging Paris Hilton, horseback riding in Iceland, holding million dollar diamonds. But seeing the Chanel Fall 2024 couture collection in person? That was another world entirely.

Chanel Fall 2024 couture
Photography courtesy of CHANEL

On June 25, the iconic French fashion house presented its latest couture collection at the French opera house, The Palais Garnier. Inspired by the venue, opera, ballet, divas and “the glances, gazes and putting oneself on display,” according to the brand, the collection was nothing short of sumptuous. Voluminous opera coats were paired with sleek short shorts. Beautiful bows accented the models’ hair, hips and torsos. And, true to Chanel’s codes, decadently decorated tweed sets anchored the assortment.

Now, if you’re an avid fashion follower, the above information isn’t new; photos of the Chanel Fall 2024 couture collection flooded social media. But, as someone who was there in the flesh and got to touch the clothes myself, trust me: The images tell only half the story. And here at FASHION, we don’t gatekeep. Among the magnificent minutia that you could only experience in person there were hand-blown glass flowers sewn onto tweed and sequins, a surprising dupe for leather, glasses fogged up from the heat inside the opera house, actress and Chanel global ambassador Keira Knightley cuddling with her husband and oh so much more. Scroll below for all the delectable behind-the-scenes details.

Chanel Fall 2024 couture
Photography by Annika Lautens

The Chanel Fall 2024 couture invitation was a pair of literal opera glasses

Do you go to the opera to see or to be seen? That’s one of the questions that inspired the Chanel Fall 2024 couture presentation. As a tribute to the iconic Palais Garnier opera house (the inspiration behind The Phantom of the Opera), Chanel teased its guests by sending everyone a pair of black and gold opera glasses before the show. While the charming gift was fully functional, it didn’t take a microscope to see the voluminous opera capes that the French house sent down the runway. Still, it was a cheeky tribute to the hotspot of performance and elegance.

Chanel Fall 2024 couture
Photography courtesy of Chanel

The Palais Garnier was even more gorgeous (and warm!) in person

If you can believe it, the Palais Garnier is far more massive and stunning than you could imagine. Opened in 1875, the opera house was designed with references to Baroque and classical architecture using materials like marble, onyx, crystal and gold leaf (!). The result is one of the most ornate buildings I’ve ever seen, featuring sculptural columns, crystal chandeliers, elaborately decorated ceilings and multiple grand staircases. For the show, Chanel actually installed red velvet opera seats in the outside corridors surrounding the auditorium, to be even more immersive.

Not pictured, however: the sweltering heat outside the opera house, made even hotter by the lack of air conditioning in the 149-year-old building. Suffice to say, many glasses (including my own) started to get pretty foggy.

My future husband(s) were present

Why find your seat by yourself when you can enlist an army of cute French men to do it for you? Chanel commissioned the services of dozens of gentlemen who looked more like debutantes’ escorts than any usher I’ve ever seen. While waiting outside, they all stood together in rows of two and garnered more than a little bit of attention.

@fashionmagazine #KeiraKnightley, the fashion girlie that you are. 🤍 #keiraknightley #chanel #celebrityinterview #couturetiktok ♬ original sound – FASHION

Keira Knightley and her husband were an adorable couple

After more than 10 years of marriage, Keira Knightley and her husband, musician James Righton, are still very much in love. Arriving at the Chanel Fall 2024 couture show, they were all smiles, teasing each other and cracking a few jokes, before cuddling in their seats, proving that Chanel is a universe love language.

“It never gets old,” Knightley told FASHION after the show. “Just look at the artistry, the imagination, the extraordinary couturier and just the skill that goes into these pieces. And then you get to wear things like this.” The white dress she wore was custom designed by Chanel, because, of course. “The decision [on what to wear] was ‘yes, please.’ I get to waft, and be in Paris, and be that person, and it’s great.”

Chanel Fall 2024 couture
Photography courtesy of Chanel

The capes are shockingly lightweight

After the runway presentation, I was lucky enough to attend a re-see of the Chanel Fall 2024 couture collection at the brand’s showroom on the Rue Cambon, and I felt like Alice adventuring into Wonderland. While there were no rabbit holes, the space sparkled like Champagne, with pops of gold, black and mirrors accenting it. As I opened the glass wardrobe to access the couture creations, I quickly learned that the capes, which covered a lot of surface area on the catwalk, weighed virtually nothing. They are actually made from satin and taffeta, and are light as a feather.

Photography courtesy of Chanel

In contrast, the tweed suits may require strength training prior to wearing them (it’s like I did that one push-up last year for nothing!). But the weight of these garments is well worth it, as each fabric is woven and meticulously embellished by hand. One highlight was a white, black and pink tweed set with black organza flounces on its sleeves and black tassels on the skirt that looked as if they were dancing as the model moved. A purple and gold ensemble peppered with precious jewels and multi-coloured sequins was also a standout.

Photography courtesy of Chanel

The materials may surprise you

If you had asked me after the show, I would have bet good money that the material used on the skirt of Look 36 (pictured above) was leather. Luckily, I’m not into gambling, because Chanel revealed it’s actually a lacquered jersey. Jersey has a special place in Chanel history, as its founder pioneered using the material in womenswear. Today, this technique is also an inventive alternative to the animal byproduct, as it’s lighter and more fluid.

Photography courtesy of Chanel

There were so many hidden details and surprising materials used throughout the collection. One look featured hand blown-glass flowers by Atelier Montex. Another couture ensemble had sleeves made from feathers, ribbons and beaded tassels by Lemarié, as seen in the savoire-faire photo above. And there was even a grey-green and white set that looked like sequins from afar, but was made with faux fur!

Photography courtesy of Chanel

Bows were more than just hair accessories

What is ballet without bows, and vice versa? We certainly don’t want to find out. This tutu dress was inspired by the costumes Gabrielle Chanel made for the ballets Le Train Bleu (1924) and Apollon Musagète (1928). And while the model wore a black bow in her hair, the skirt is actually made-up of five taffeta bows and five silk tulle bows, each embellished with rhinestones, gemstones and beads. A true bow fantasy if we ever saw one.

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