Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel was long enamored with the precision and beauty of dance—so much so that she used the success of her couture house to help fund works, such as the 1920 revival of Igor Stravinsky’s “The Rite of Spring.”
Later, she used her design vision to create innovative costumes for “Le Train Bleu” in 1924 and “Apollon Musagete” in 1929. It was a practice Karl Lagerfeld would continue once he took over as creative director of CHANEL.
“As a child I was already impressed by old images of Anna Pavlova dancing the ballet,” Lagerfeld told British Vogue in 2009, after it was announced that he had created an exclusive costume for “The Dying Swan” as part of English National Ballet’s “Ballet Russes” season.
In 2018, CHANEL became a patron of the Opéra national de Paris dance season’s opening gala, and today continues to support the Paris Opera Ballet and its artistic projects through a partnership that encourages the creation of new works while also exposing dance to as many people as possible.
CHANEL’s current creative director, Virginie Viard, has helped carry on the house’s meaningful relationship with the Paris Opera Ballet by designing costumes and tiaras for the prima ballerinas during each “défilé du ballet,” a procession of all the company’s dancers.
Like a marriage made in heaven, this magical meeting of fashion and dance is an enduring symbol of Gabrielle Chanel’s legacy and vision.