Rarely do models smile on the runway, and that remained true at Chanel’s Tuesday couture show.
But Margaret Qualley is not a model, and the trained dancer and actress beamed as she opened the show and strutted on the soft, creamy-carpeted runway.
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“I didn’t want to fall down, and I succeeded at that, so I’m happy,” she said coming out of the show. She worked on her walk when she arrived in Paris.
“Last night I was in my pajamas and I asked Chanel to borrow some heels — because I never wear heels — and I walked around my hotel room in my pajamas until I found a walk that I thought would be appropriate, and then I tried to do it again today,” she said of her casual approach to training.
Qualley, who married musician Jack Antonoff last summer in Chanel, ushered in the “wedding flat” trend.
“I’m very tall,” said the 5-foot, 8-inch actress. “I always value comfort over style kind of across the board.” Still, she wore a black patent T-strap heel for the show.
Qualley also choreographed, danced in and codirected a music video for Antonoff’s band, Bleachers.
The actress said it was more about wanting to create something with her new husband than a drive to get behind the camera.
It wasn’t the plan, but developed through the filming process as she had a very specific idea of how her dance scenes should be filmed.
“I absolutely adored making it. It was just a really sweet, special time. I got to do it with my husband, and he’s my best friend….It was a labor of love. We just kinda wanted to make something that we could show the kids someday.”
But that’s not an announcement, she joked. “Oh, not for a long time,” she said of any future offspring.
Qualley is often billed as a ballerina, but downplayed the title. “I did a lot of ballet, but I was never the best at that. I always loved making up dances and did competitions. When I was 10 years old I made up my own competition with my friends and bossed them around making them learn my moves on the weekends.”
The music video reignited that urge, and she wants to start choreographing more projects. In the meantime, she will leave the directing to the pros like Ethan Coen. Their film “Drive Away Dolls” will premiere next month.
Qualley called it a “road trip, lesbian, B-movie comedy. I don’t even know, it’s just really fun,” she said, smiling through it all.
It was a walk down memory lane for Naomi Campbell. Her very first show was Chanel back in 1986, when she was 16 years old, she recalled.
“It’s incredible,” she said, of still being with the brand almost 40 years later. “But they still maintain the same DNA, the integrity, and they don’t change.”
She said that creative director Virginie Viard has stepped up following the passing of Karl Lagerfeld. “For me, it’s really difficult to see the line between Virginie and Karl, because she was always his right hand. I mean, it’s not easy to take over from Karl Lagerfeld. This is a big house to take over and she’s done that, remarkably.”
While Campbell has a few acting gigs under her belt, it’s not something she wants to pursue. “It has to be something that is completely a fun experience and a great character. Something that’s completely not me,” she said.
She likes “sticking to [her] day job,” she joked. That includes the Chanel short film that opened the show, as well as headliner walks like closing the Balmain show last week.
“My kids ground me,” she said of her two toddlers. She also cited her recovery, which she said is an ongoing personal process. “I’m not ashamed of it. I talk about it because it is something you have to share and you have to help others who need it, or who reach out for your hand to get help.”
“I’ve never really believed in my hype as a persona,” she added.
K-pop star Minji of NewJeans attended her first Chanel show after being named brand ambassador in May. “I’m a little bit nervous, but I’m more excited,” she said.
She declared the show “amazing” and said that she liked a pink two-piece dress.
“I have many tastes in music, so just like that, I have a lot of tastes in fashion too,” she said of her style.
Chinese actress and brand ambassador Xin Zhilei, star of “Blossoms Shanghai,” the first TV series from Cannes best director winner Wong Kar-Wai, was making her first appearance at a Chanel couture show.
She said filming the series was a challenging, three-year process. “It’s his style to have a really in-depth shooting process,” she said through a translator, of working with the legendary director. Xin is “very happy with its success, and to achieve the results” as it has become a global hit.
Xin joked that it would take another three years to work on a film version of the story, but that the team is “preparing to go abroad,” and hinted that a different cut may be in the works. “Maybe we’ll show it in 2024 in a film festival, hopefully.”
If she makes that legendary South of France film festival, she would be wearing Chanel.
Launch Gallery: Front Row at Chanel Couture Spring 2024
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