Pin It
Chanel Metiers d'Art show, 2023
Courtesy of Chanel

Chanel brings the Senegalese art scene to its Metiers d’Art show

...and more fashion news you missed

Nobody knew how old Gabrielle Chanel was when she passed away in 1971. Though the press had reported her as being 87 years of age, certain confidantes thought she was closer to 95. Others, meanwhile, said she was 87 but just liked to tell people that she was 95 so they’d remark on how young she looked for her age. Quite an enchanting mythology to collect around one’s death! Even more so than the fact Mademoiselle Chanel took her final breaths in The Ritz hotel, cloaked in a green, pink, and beige tweed suit. Virginie Viard managed to conjure some of that glamour in Chanel’s most recent Metiers d’Art show, which paid homage to the 1970s with its founder’s multicoloured tweeds. 

Staged at the Palais de Justice in Dakar, Senegal, Viard showed flared trousers, asymmetric dresses, platforms, and oversized sweaters embellished with plant motifs, pearls, and jewelled buttons. “Real dialogues, nourished over the long term, it is this human and warm dimension that motivates my work and that I try to re-transcribe,” she said of the collection. “I put all my soul into it. These marvellous encounters from which artistic adventures like this one are born, that’s what drives me.” The whole thing felt cosier, a little more boho than we’ve come to expect from Viard’s tenure at the house – which is something she took further by collaborating with the capital’s existing art scene. Soundtracked by DBN Gogo and Obree Daman, guests were welcomed into the showspace by dancers from the École des Sables and Dimitri Chamblas, while the entire project was documented by students at the Montfermeil and Dakar Kourtrajmé film schools.

Not only was this Chanel’s debut show on African soil, it was also the first couture level show to be staged by a Western fashion house in Sub-Saharan Africa, anywhere, ever. For a French label to return to a former French colony and discover new chemistries was a milestone moment – one that Viard has been planning for three years, thwarted by a carousel of coronavirus lockdowns. While the clothing paid homage to the country – in jewellery and bags emblazoned with the Senegalese lion, tailored silhouettes that drew inspiration from Congo’s Sapeur subculture, and beaded materials sourced from local artisans – the brand’s president Bruno Pavlovsky announced a slew of upcoming, creative exchanges between Chanel and Dakar’s IFAN Museum of African Arts.

“Going beyond the runway show, it’s the event as a whole that I took into account. We’ve been thinking about it for three years. I wanted it to happen gently, over several days of deep, respectful dialoguing,” Viard said. Click through the gallery above to see highlights from this season’s collection.

In other fashion news this week, Dior resuscitated the 2010’s galaxy print, while Kim Kardashian hinted at a Björk rebrand, and the 2022 edition Fashion Awards took place. Elsewhere, Samantha Jones was teased as making an Emily In Paris cameo and Shein was (depressingly) named as the most popular brand of the year. For everything else you may have missed, click through the gallery below.