Graphic silhouettes, sumptuous fabrics and virtuosic detailing underscore the beauty and mastery of Virginie Viard’s Fall-Winter 2022/23 collection for the house of Chanel. The setting was the Étrier de Paris equestrian centre set on Paris’ sprawling Bois du Boulogne, a departure from the regular (although it is clearly anything but) Grand Palais. Much to the delight of the audience, musician Pharrell Williams opened the highly-anticipated show with an exclusive track just for Chanel, unveiled in a dreamy short film by Xavier Veilhan.
The packed house heaved with friends of the brand and appointed ambassadors who included, but were not limited to, Keira Knightley, Marion Cotillard, Maggie Gyllenhaal and Anna Mouglalis. Despite strong colour — a long skirt suit combination in the most striking shade of kelly green tweed embellished with braid and jewelled buttons — firing the first style salvo, it was a predominantly black and white palette that set the tone for what was to be a clearly elegant and classic autumn/winter collection. Hemlines, for the most part, clung modestly around the ankles, evoking images of 1930s icons like Daisy Fellowes and Mona von Bismarck.
Flashes of skin were barely visible, save for a few looks that included a sleeveless jacket with band collar, strapless evening gowns and sleeveless long dresses. Coats were, likewise, worn long and sharp, with tailored collars and embellished tweeds, paired with heeled black leather boots. Although the overall silhouette suggested the past, the choice of fabrics — featherlight as well as richly sumptuous — and sophisticated decorative touches ensured a thoroughly modern outlook ... in style as well as life.
Model and body positivity role model Jill Kortleve closes the show in style
It is no secret that the finale look for each Chanel haute couture collection is a wedding-worthy gown. Following a tradition begun by the late, great Karl Lagerfeld since the 1980s, previous Chanel “brides” ranged from the gamine Inès de la Fressange to Teutonic supermodel Claudia Schiffer, Japanese-Caucasian actor-model Devon Aoki and even It Girls like Cara Delevingne, Kaia Gerber and Kendall Jenner.
Bridal looks of shows past have ranged from dreamy, princess-style gowns to sharp pantsuits and even hooded, caped dresses, accessorised by all manner of accoutrements: traditional veils, floral garlands, ribbons and bejewelled tiaras. This year’s creation was a study in simplicity, starring a white strapless dress in pleated ecru silk chiffon paired with a stole in ecru crêpe georgette embroidered with floral motifs and fringes, a simple white head-bow and black grosgrain T-bar pumps.
Joining the bridal hall of fame was none other than Jill Kortleve. The model, who is of Dutch, Indonesian, Surinamese and Indian extraction, is currently one of fashion’s biggest champions of diversity and the body positivity movement. Standing at 5’ 9” and all feminine curves, Kortleve’s beautiful, relatable image of what constitutes a traditional runway beauty is perhaps the “marriage” the whole world needs to be witness to: a union that truly embraces reality and inclusion.
This article first appeared on Sept 27, 2022 in The Edge Malaysia.