If there's one thing Chanel's Virginie Viard wants to be clear with, it's that she's not interested in pandering to trends. For the Chanel Spring Summer 2023 show, it was all about the ease of the house, the true meaning of what it is to be a Chanel woman. Throughout history, and even in recent seasons, we've seen the House of Chanel's dalliance with fun, theatrical themes. There was Karl Lagerfeld's FW14 show where models perused the aisles of a grocery store inside the Grand Palais, and the time he built a beach for one of his last collections before passing. Viard has carried the torch, with energetic, punkish inspired runway moments and last years nod to the 90s – to name a few. This season, we expected to potentially see more of this kind of energy. Instead, we witnessed something much more serene.
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Time and time again, Viard proves her dedication to Gabrielle Chanel's legacy, and today was one of the most pure expressions of this that we've seen from the brand in some time. It started with a short film by long-time collaborators of the House, Inez and Vinoodh, as a kind-of ode to Alain Resnais’s L’Année Dernière à Marienbad – a film that the collection clearly riffed off of – wherein Viard's muse, Kristen Stewart, exits the Le Champo theatre to wander the streets of Paris, daydream down the Rue Cambon Chanel staircase, and ride the metro, kitted out in SS23.
"It's no longer important to know who you are or what you want. It's important to burn down your very best yesterday, every day, so you can start again."
From there, the set opens to a caped Rianne Van Rompaey. It is made of a translucent black chiffon and trails behind her like a plume of smoke, setting the tone for a collection that felt almost weightless in execution, even the tweed. Transcending both past and future, Spring Summer 2023 felt like a walk through the past, back to old Paris and the Chanel that Gabrielle built, while employing modern technique, silhouettes, and, most importantly, attitude.
It was unfussy and light. Where jackets hung from the shoulders and shimmied around the torso as they moved, deep plunges revealing just enough. There were cutesy halter neck dresses with ruffled hems and cotton skirts printed with pale white Camelia flowers. Tweed was modernized, pencil skirts were slung low on the waist and jackets cropped at the navel, while tap shorts were offered next to giant, swaying tweed coat dresses. Classic cap-toe pumps were out in full display, accessorised by crystal crew socks and white fishnet stay-ups. As for the gowns, there wasn't a lick of overkill. Sheer chiffon skirts met with silver sequin shift dresses trimmed with ostrich feathers, and all was accompanied by strands of silver necklaces and earrings, trailing down the body like loose threads.
The collection is said to play on themes of allure, and one could not deny the idea as models moved down the runway with ease and best yet, the inclusion of different types of bodies doing so. As Viard leans further into her reign at Chanel, the idea of mixing it up is what's keeping us guessing, and returning for more.
Watch the full Chanel Spring Summer 2023 show, below.
For more of the best moments from Paris Fashion Week, we're rounding them up, here.