Bling Empire star Christine Chiu is a regular in the front row during couture week, but this season was an experience like none other. Fall 2021’s couture shows coincided with the lead-up to the Cannes Film Festival, so the reality star and her family packed their bags and prepared for a glamorous double-header. “Couture week 2021 was truly my favourite season to date,” shared Chiu via email. “Which was largely due to having Dr. Chiu and Baby G. along for the ride!”
Though she attended multiple shows, the highlight of her week was Balenciaga’s stunning return to the couture calendar, where Demna Gvasalia and his team recreated the look and feel of a 1960s atelier. The attention to detail struck a chord with Chiu. “The salon was replicated precisely and beautifully to that of Mr. Balenciaga’s original couture salon, even down to the intentionally ‘dirtied’ carpet and manufactured dust to fill the air,” she explains. “The House wanted guests to feel as though the salon had just reopened doors since its last closing 53 years ago.”
Achieving that effect meant losing modern runway standards, like the carefully curated soundtracks. For Chiu, the quiet heightened her appreciation of the garments. “The silence was breathtaking,” she says. “In the absence of music, I heard the fabrics sing. The swishing of delicate and bold materials, set against the rhythmic thumping of models’ walk on (deliberately) creaky floors, was surprisingly soothing. Without the distraction of loud beats and enthusiastic songs, I was finally able to engage in the movement and life of each look, taking in every seam, embellishment, quirky nod, and more.”
Though Gvasalia was paying homage to couture’s past, his vision was modern. “What I admire most about Demna’s Balenciaga is his passion for inclusivity and the redefinition of beauty,” says Chiu. “[It is] reflected in both his designs and use of models.” As a longtime couture client, Chiu was impressed by the collection’s blend of past and present, a factor that highlighted the similarities between the house’s current designer and its founder. “Mr. Cristobal was the architect of fabric and shaped the generations of fashion. Demna finds the perfect balance between honouring that essence and furthering fashion innovations in shape and materials; redefining elegance and sophistication,” says Chiu. “Like Cristobal, Demna creates new moulds—literally and figuratively. He creates new stories with unconventional silhouettes and unexpected materials on models from all walks of life. For that, I am grateful and inspired.”
Once couture wrapped, Chiu and her family headed off to the south of France and the Cannes Film Festival. Though she had her red carpet moment at the star-studded premiere of Paul Verhoeven’s religious drama Benedetta, where she wore fiery red Iris Van Herpen, Chiu prioritised family throughout the trip. “We would have breakfast together each morning and sometimes go for a short walk before I headed out,” she says. “In the afternoons, we would go to the aquarium, zoo, museum, or gardens. In the evening, we enjoyed a light early dinner as a family before Dr. Chiu and I hurried off to another show, premiere, or dinner gala while Baby G napped.”
Even the big-screen thrills were a shared experience. “Many people don’t realise that you don’t have to be a celebrity or in the entertainment industry to watch the films during the festival,” Chiu explains. “You can watch the films each night under the stars on Cannes Beach, via Cinema de la Plage with the whole family. [France] is the epicentre of couture, cinema, and glamour, but what I love the most are the memories I get to create there with those I love.”
This article was originally published on Vogue.
1 / 26
I’ve been waiting for this moment since 1968!
2 / 26
Taking risks is most of the fun.
3 / 26
A vegan dinner, beautiful and delightful!
4 / 26
Dinner at Bourse de Commerce in the midst of an Urs Fisher exhibition.
5 / 26
The fine wine does not go unnoticed.
6 / 26
Thank you, Demna, for moving fashion forward!
7 / 26
Balenciaga afterparty with Dr. Chiu’s fave artist.
8 / 26
My Balenciaga skirt is made of shoes- that’s all.
9 / 26
Early bird gets the couture … Balenciaga’s first couture appt in 53 years!
10 / 26
Baby G is soaking in the South of France sun!
11 / 26
Most beautiful backdrop for glam.
12 / 26
Always stop to sip the Spritz.
13 / 26
The view from the Chopard penthouse.
14 / 26
Movie night done right—Benedetta is not for the faint of heart.
15 / 26
Congrats, Kingsley Ben-Adir, and Jessie Buckley!
16 / 26
Best of films x best of jewels
17 / 26
When in Cannes, Martinez stairs.
18 / 26
My “village” at Cannes.
19 / 26
Are we ready?
20 / 26
Caroline, the queen of Cannes.
21 / 26
The stairs before the stairs in Iris Van Herpen haute couture.
22 / 26
Thank you, Chopard, for hosting us!
23 / 26
24 / 26
My most valuable accessory? Cell phone charger.
25 / 26
Baby G is all my feels all the time.
26 / 26
Ready for round two?