Chanel AW23 – Paris Fashion Week
Michael Meir-Wright discovers Virginie Viard's new collection from PFW
It was 1913 when Coco Chanel first plucked a camellia and pinned one of its blossoms to her belt. A simple act that nevertheless began a love affair with the delicate yet resilient flower that has persisted through the history of her storied Maison. At Paris Fashion Week for Chanel AW23, creative director Virginie Viard drew inspiration from this blossom’s ‘reassuring and familiar’ qualities to offer a moment of serenity and elegance as an anchor to her new proposition.
The collection debuted at the Grand Palais Ephémère and from the outset, the impact of the Coco’s flower became clear. Two towering carvings demarcated the catwalk and set the tone for the show. The ephemeral and feminine outlines flowed from one look to the next; adorning the lapels of obsidian leather jackets, embellishing the pockets of playsuits and adding texture to sleek sweaters. The influence was not just felt on the clothes. Fine spun tights, beaded belts and statement monochromatic earrings came decorated with the flower motif, and even the resurgent mini bag was crafted in its image.
Elsewhere, colour was deployed with deliberate precision. Arresting accents of soft pink subtly disrupted a predominantly monochromatic spectrum when used as lining for structured jackets and as striking petals on textured knitwear. Later, compelling shades of burgundy and crimson brought boucle skirts and prairie dresses to life for a refined and feminine palette.
Viard also experimented with form throughout the collection. Chanel staples like tailored tweed jackets were paired with flowing asymmetrical skirts, while welcome surprises like quilted trousers studded with shimmering crystals brought delightful top notes of opulence and extravagance to the proceedings.
Chanel AW23 wore its inspirations openly and proudly. Virginie Viard expertly weaved the camellia’s softness and strength into a collection that not only reflected the modern woman, but also the woman Mademoiselle Chanel herself would have approved of in her day.
To read our review of the Louis Vuitton show from PFW, click here
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