“Devoting the entire collection to tweed is a tribute”, said the artistic director of Chanel, Virginie Viard, about the French house’s collection for this winter. Yet no matter how obvious of a choice it may sounds - paying tribute to tweed in Chanel -, the designer delivered an enchanting, wearable collection, which revealed an inspiration much richer than a simple archive revisit would suggest.
Presented in the dressed-in-tweed Grand Palais Éphémère, the collection was a stroll along the Tweed River in Scotland. The Scottish countryside of the 1920s actually provided Gabrielle Chanel herself with the palette for the tweed fabrics she loved to use for her signature suits.
But this season’s collection was not only about the fabric itself, nor solely about the quintessential role it has played for the identity of the Maison through the decades. The multi-pocket hunting jackets, the oversized men’s jackets, the voluminous trousers, the rubber boots, were a reminder of how Gabrielle Chanel reinvented everyday womenswear by infusing it with elements kept – until her era – exclusively for men. Viard talked about the photos that suggest how this inspiration had come upon Gabrielle: they capture her in the borrowed clothes of her lover, the Duke of Westminster, at his Eaton Hall country house. “There’s nothing sexier than wearing the clothes of the person you love. I’m fascinated by this ever-contemporary gesture,” she noted in the press release.
However, the collection did not only consist of “boyfriend-inspired” tweed pieces; it also had the functionality of urban looks in mind. Channeling the energy of the ‘60s in England, Viard took tweed to the next level, by presenting colorful skirt suits, thick-ribbed tights, and kitten heel slingbacks, combined with volumes and cuts with an ‘80s attitude. The total result, enriched with touches of earthy colored leather and knitted accessories, was not just retro, though covering the style of three decades, but absolutely contemporary, feminine, and real.
The duality of the concept can also be found in the campaign that the dynamic photography duo Inez & Vinoodh has created for the collection. “We set out to bring the countryside, the Scottish landscape around the River Tweed, into city life," they explain, talking about their two shootings for the campaign; the one is dreamy, foggy and colorful, executed outdoors, and the other black and white, and shot in a studio.
Unexpectedly dreamy, familiarly cozy, ingeniously practical: Long live Chanel’s tweed!
There was a good reason why Virginie Viard, creative director at Chanel, has found inspiration in the somewhat cryptic Nouvelle Vague film by Alain Resnais, “L’Année Dernière à Marienbad,” for the Maison’s Spring/Summer 2023 ready-to-wear collection: Gabrielle Chanel was responsible for some of the most fascinating looks of actress Delphine Seyrig. The movie’s dreamy black and white scenery has inspired Viard to design an elegant collection - full of effortless confidence and of all the favorite Chanel archetypes -, which is sure to produce some of the basic trends for next season.
Pretty in Pink
Though true to the monochromatic style of the film, the collection was elevated by gold sparkles and sweet pastels. And by pastels we mostly mean a delightful palette of pink. Chosen to dress a wide variety of silhouettes in the collection, whether in deep or in lighter hues, in houndstooth or in geometric prints, on jacket trims or on chain bags, pink found its proper place in a graceful collection, highlighting an ingenious, floating lightness. Chanel leads the way then, into a pink-enhanced Spring for 2023.
Fishnet stockings are back, but Chanel has its own luxurious version that manages to look at once girly and elegant – and also wearable. Worn in the form of ankle socks or knee-high stockings, paired with the all-time favorite two-toned Chanel shoes, they gave out a hint of glam rock vibes. The occasional sequin embellishment on them added a sparkly touch to the looks.
The Easy Evening Dress
The desirable sophistication is here, the exquisite details are also present, as are the shiny fabrics, but what seems to be the defining quality of next season’s evening dresses is a no-fuss, easy-to-wear, comfortable and effortlessly chic allure. It is Nouvelle Vague speaking through the inspired designs of Virginie Viard, who delivered flowy dresses, lean, airy forms that offer freedom of movement to the body.
It seems like next season is going to be all about confidence-infused chicness!