“I wanted to dance in these clothes,” says Charlotte Casiraghi. “It really is the ideal wardrobe. There are outfits for everything: having fun, the beach, strolling.” Casiraghi – an accomplished equestrian and philosophy alumnus from Paris Sorbonne Université – is rejoicing in memories of collaborating with Inez Van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadi.
In front of the photographing duo’s lens and with glimpses of Monaco’s glittering skyline for a backdrop, Casiraghi donned ensembles from Virginie Viard’s spring / summer 2021 collection for Chanel. Black tweed tailoring she contrasts with shirting in snow white; the iridescent logo embroidery on a red jumper sparkles in the moonlight refracted along Monaco's seashore. Reclining by a swimming pool, Casiraghi elects pink and white stripes the ideal uniform to lounge in. “There’s a real versatility to the collection,” she finds. “It’s very easy to make it your own.”
When dreaming up this season’s Chanel collection, Viard, who was appointed as the Parisian brand’s creative director in February 2019, imagined the wardrobe of an actress, both on and off-set. Researching the many instances that the worlds of Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel and Hollywood coincided, Viard drew from films such as 1961 drama Last Year at Marienbad – which starred Mademoiselle’s design - and performers including Romy Schneider, a Chanel advocate. Casiraghi makes for a felicitous muse this season: her grandparents are the late Rainier III, Prince of Monaco and Hollywood lode star Grace Kelly, the Princess of Monaco. “Her great strength is that she knows the house’s codes and history back to front,” says Casiraghi of Viard’s work. “I think that Virginie brings a continuity. There is this sense of heritage that she carries so entirely, but also a softness and a sobriety that is new.”
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In Casiraghi’s family, a love for Chanel has long run de mère en fille: her mother, Princess Caroline of Hanover counted the late Karl Lagerfeld among her closest friends. “It’s almost as if I was born with Chanel,” she says. “I think of photos of my mom when she was pregnant with me.” Eleventh line to the Monegasque throne, Casiraghi herself has worn Chanel to private and official occasions: there have been pastel tweeds for daytime, white silks in the evening and haute couture plumasserie feather-work come nightfall, as spotted at Monaco’s 2006 Rose Ball.
In January this year, Chanel announced Casiraghi an official ambassador and spokesperson. In her role, she joins a coterie of the brand’s ambassadors that also includes Vanessa Paradis, Marion Cotillard and Alma Jodorowsky. In addition to starring in this season’s campaign, Casiraghi is set to host a series of salon-like literary roundtables set at Chanel’s emblematic address on Paris’ rue Cambon and shared digitally. “[It’s] an idea that came to me quite spontaneously,” says Casiraghi. “Gabrielle Chanel used to receive a lot of writers and artists. It was part of her world. So, we imagined a series of encounters, of portraits of women, of women writers who have played an important role – through their freedom, their daring, and the power of their writing – in women’s lib.”
Casiraghi shares her love of books with Karl Lagerfeld. It was at La Vigie, the legendary designer’s former Monaco home, that this season’s collection was photographed. “I got married there and it’s a house full of memories,” she says of the three-storey villa built on a sequestered promontory overlooking the Mediterranean Sea. “It was very moving to take these photos there.”
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