We were congregated along the pub lined Thomas Street in Manchester thanks to Chanel Creative Director Virginie Viard’s desire for this excursion to North of England to immerse in the rich mercantile history and musical legacy of the city. It’s a place that clearly appeals to Viard’s enduring love of an unexpected cultural dialogue but perhaps surprisingly ties right back to Gabrielle Chanel who spent time here in the twenties at the 2nd Duke of Westminister’s family Estate in Cheshire. Chanel was said to be inspired by the tweeds she discovered in the Duke’s mud room and this signature couldn’t have been more present in this 2023/24 Métiers d'Art collection shown by Viard; arriving here in swinging silhouettes, mod-inspired brights and voluptuous baker boy caps.
Flame-haired Mancunian Karen Elson opened the show along the cobbled streets with rain falling as if on cue and against a Michel Gaubert soundtrack that included The Fall, Soft Cell, Cilla Black’s Anyone Who Had a Hear and closed with New Order’s Bizarre Love Triangle.
While there was a soft undertone of the Celtic punk through some highland plaid and shiny-leather, the looks conveyed a strong modernity that leant way more into a sensibility that could perhaps be described as the youth driven revolution of the 60s meets mid-90s Oasis Cool Britannia but for today. There were practical Mary Janes, coat dresses and matchy-matchy skirt suits topped with chain belts, cross body bags and stout scarves. Mini-skirts with godets and bermuda shorts hinted at a working-girl spirit, further accentuated by a classic Chanel diamond quilted briefcase which is sure to start an accessory trend.
While Métiers d'Art is always a celebration of the skilled craftspeople and artisans working with Chanel on embellishment, it felt more toned down in this collection yet appeared in more unexpected places from high volume coats to more subtle detail on Shetland and cashmere knits or on the mini dresses that closed the show. The real punch came from the lively colour palette – vivid autumnal hues and rainbow brights – meshed together with a carefree sense of confidence. There were also unmissable salutes to Manchester's football pedigree with one look giving a Viard take on a Manchester City shirt and another sporting a scarf in Manchester United colours. Casting included Edie Campbell, Jill Kortleve, recent RUSSH cover girl Adit Priscilla and Australian models Angelina Kendall and Ella McCutcheon.
Among the 600 guests were Chanel ambassadors Tilda Swinton and Kristen Stewart, Sofia Coppola, Charlotte Casiraghi, Caroline de Maigret and the great Brit himself Hugh Grant along with Manchester’s finest including The Factory’s Peter Saville who worked on the show design and branding, author Jeanette Winterson, grime rapper Bugsy Malone, John Cooper Clarke and the next generation of Gallagher brothers (Liam’s sons Gene and Lennon).
See some of our favourite looks from the Chanel Métiers d'Art 2023/24 show, below.