Couture’s Biggest Surprise? The Princess Who Rode a Horse Down Chanel’s Runway

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Every Chanel couture collection comes with its own spectacle. Who can forget fall 2015’s casino-themed set complete with backgammon tables or spring 2016’s garden of delights? For spring 2022, Virginie Viard offered her version of a viral moment by kickstarting her collection with a special appearance from a fashionable royal. Charlotte Casiraghi, the Monégasque princess and granddaughter of Hollywood legend Grace Kelly, opened the show by riding down the runway on her steed, the eight-year-old Spanish bay horse, Kuskus, much to the audience’s delight at the Grand Palais. 

In addition to working as a model, founding a film production company, Swoon, and writing for magazines, Casiraghi is an experienced horsewoman. A competitive showjumper for more than a decade, she has participated in the sport’s global champions tour and has been actively involved in equestrianism at home in Monaco. Dressed in her tweed little black jacket, riding boots, and jockey’s cap, Casiraghi looked ready for competition while embodying the spirit of the modern Chanel woman.

Though she only became an official Chanel ambassador back in 2020, Casiraghi has long been part of the house’s repertoire of stars. A fixture in the front row since her teens, Casiraghi even had Chanel design one of her wedding dresses for her 2019 marriage to Dimitri Rassam. The late designer Karl Lagerfeld was a personal friend of her family, particularly her mother, Princess Caroline of Hanover, who he regularly outfitted in haute couture for special events like Monaco’s annual Rose Ball. 

This season Casiraghi helped hammer home the collection’s themes. Viard collaborated with artist Xavier Veilhan and focused on couture’s versatility. “I like sport, and it’s funny to think that the Chanel tailleur is something you can wear for playing golf or riding a horse,” Veilhan shared with Vogue’s Hamish Bowles backstage. Thanks to the variety on Viard’s runway and Casiraghi’s athleticism, that winning idea came through, and the show began on a thrilling—and viral—high note. 



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