Chanel recently presented its 2023/24 Métiers d’Art collection in Manchester. To mark the occasion, Virginie Viard commissioned director and Chanel ambassador Sofia Coppola to make a short film in the form of a collage, whose vibrant rhythm reflects the creative energy of the city.
Historic photos of Gabrielle Chanel in Great Britain – an eternal source of inspiration for the couturière – are mixed with dozens of images that recount the cutting edge influence of Manchester in all domains dear to the House including music, literature, architecture and sport.
Set to the sound of New Order’s legendary Blue Monday, we glimpse a series of colour images specially taken by Jamie Hawkesworth. The British photographer shot a group of people chosen through an “open” casting process to embody the first silhouettes of the collection.
Just before the 2023/24 Métiers d’art show, Chanel also unveiled a series of photographs taken in Manchester by Jamie Hawkesworth. Under the creative direction of Coppola, the British photographer staged a group of young Mancunians in the first silhouettes of the
collection by Virginie Viard.
A black T-shirt dress features an embroidered crest, while a fine velvet jersey sweater is embellished with a pleated plastron dotted with tweed ribbons. Jackets in multicolour Lesage tweed, woven with denim ribbons or bouclette threads in shades of pink, are worn with matching caps, while knitted looks in pastel tones rub shoulders with Chanel suits in shimmering nuances of pop red, mustard yellow and lilac.
“Tweed is central to this collection. I thought a lot about Gabrielle Chanel but I didn’t want to recreate Coco’s look, when she was wearing the Duke of Westminster’s jackets. I took my cue from the Coco who brought colour to her tweeds. I added a vibrant, pop spirit to them. Manchester is the basis of a music culture that has changed the face of the world. Today, it is the meeting point for all those who identify with it. For me, Manchester is the city of music,” confides Virginie Viard. “It incites creation.”
The show took place in Thomas Street, in the North of Manchester, at dusk, hence the importance being heeded to colour. Suits, bags and strings of pearls aligned around a shimmering, pop palette. Salmon pink, pumpkin, apple green, mustard, sky blue, red and rust lit up a horizon that is all at once feminine and singular.
Using utmost simplicity and absolute precision, the artistic director wanted this 2023/24 Métiers d’art collection to be faithful to the House codes. In addition to each of the codes that make it so modern – the chains at the bottom of the jackets, the contrasting inner fabrics, the multiple topstitched panels allowing for a great freedom of movement – this is a celebration of Gabrielle Chanel’s own art of tailoring. Even the tops of the skirts are in the same fabric as the inside of the jackets and coats, offering a continuity of line to the gaze.
Ideas of Great Britain evoke wraparound skirts, miniskirts with godets, Bermuda shorts, shirts, coat-dresses all featured in tweed, knitwear in Shetland and cashmere. Cuts are fitted, and skirt waists worn slightly low on the hips.
Pleats, feather and embroidery work along with hats and jewelled buttons crafted by the Métiers d’art resident at le19M enhance the allure of this collection. Teapots, vinyl records and cute flowers all add fun touches. The collection dares a certain candour with black Mary-Jane shoes. Jeans, leather, knitwear including babydoll nighties and strapless dresses complete the ensemble, investing domains as varied as football, Manchester’s music scene or the English countryside.
With a vibrant sensitivity and musicality, the 2023/24 Métiers d’art collection evokes the ever-youthful love story between Chanel and Great Britain, an adventure that has lasted for over a century.