Virginie Viard has been thinking about Chanel in Dakar for three years. It's the first time the fashion house has ever presented a collection in Africa, much less Senegal, and the creative director wanted a French return to the country to happen "gently, over several days of deep, respectful dialoguing".
Precisely 800 people gathered to witness the Chanel Métiers d'art collection 23, and as an artistic exchange between two cultures there were dancers from the École des Sables to open the show, as well as the voice of Obree Daman.
Leaning into this gentle metaphor, Viard looked to the 70s culture of free love and freedom for inspiration. There were subtle nods to the soul, funk, disco and punk of the decade, and Viard captured this energy in everything from the colour palette – radiating and warm – to the flared trousers and pointed collars, platform boots and floral motifs.
Tweed acts as a foundation to lay other traditional methods of beadwork, textile-making and weaving atop of. The fabrics of the collection were intensely textured, one has to pass eyes over a single look for quite some time to truly absorb all the detail. The same can be said of the open and airy show space, with its towering columns and verdant gardens.
We can fondly think of the Métiers d'art collection as the slow show; each element considered and propped up with the desire to water it gradually and with time. Viard summed this spirit up best in a press release. “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.
"I put all my soul into it. These marvellous encounters from which artistic adventures like this one are born, that's what drives me.”
See the Chanel Pre-Fall Métiers d'art collection 23 for yourself, below.