6th July 2023

CHANEL Haute Couture AW23

Virginie Viard explores concepts of balance and contrasts for the winter.

It would be hard to imagine there could have been a more apt location for the CHANEL haute couture AW23 show at Paris Fashion Week.  On the multicoloured paving stones of the banks of the river Seine, with the grand Eiffel Tower reaching into the sky as a backdrop, creative director Virginie Viard gave us her updated version of the contemporary yet sophisticated modern Parisienne woman.

The collection came with an eclectic air that reflected the freedom that is so beloved of Viard’s chosen muse.  Floor-length single and double-breasted black coats came with the expected understated elegance as standard, while precise cherry red military-style jackets and glittering crushed gold skirt suits came with a demand to stand to attention.

Iconic tweed jackets adorned with intricate floral motifs invoked the French Maison’s famous codes, and diaphanous fairytale dresses created from expanses of silk chiffon spoke to its history of romanticism.   At every point, we were invited to observe Viard’s creative sense of balance and revel in previously unconsidered combinations that resulted in beautiful new results.

“Playing with opposites and contrasts, with nonchalance and elegance, is like standing on a line between strength and delicacy, which, at CHANEL, is what we call allure,” said the designer of her collection.  Nowhere is this sentiment better illustrated than in the silhouettes to the designs on show.  High-waisted pinstripe trousers, men’s waistcoats and masculine shapes were juxtaposed with light candy-coloured blouses belted at the waist and flowing, ruffled tiered skirts for those who wish to indulge and subvert the norms.

It should come as no surprise then that Venessa Paradis, a French icon herself, was announced as the ‘embodiment of French allure’ for CHANEL haute couture AW23 ahead of the show.  Aesthetic modernity, timeless style, artistic freedom – all traits that perfectly describe them both.

P.S.  more cute dogs on catwalks, please.


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