Vogue’s fashion critic Anders Christian Madsen breaks down the five key takeaways from Chanel’s fall/winter 2022 collection at Paris Fashion Week.
Chanel has halted trade in Russia
“I read the news today, oh boy,” John Lennon sang on the soundtrack as Chanel opened the final day of shows, captioning a season where our vast majority of time has been spent on phones scrolling through news pages, never letting the escapism of fashion eclipse the atrocities unfolding in Ukraine. Last week, Chanel joined the industry’s other industry leaders in halting all trade in Russia where it has seventeen stores. “Given our increasing concerns about the current situation, the growing uncertainty and the complexity to operate, Chanel decided to temporarily pause its business in Russia,” the company said in a statement. “We will no longer deliver into Russia, we will close our boutiques and we already suspended our e-commerce. The safety of our employees is our priority, and we remain closely connected to our local teams whom we will continue to support.”
Virginie Viard devoted her collection to tweed
Before the war broke out, Virginie Viard had already designed her collection. As a result, like nearly every other designer proposal this season, it was founded in an entirely unrelated premise: a devotion to tweed, the signature fabric of Chanel and a timeless part of its heritage. “Devoting the entire collection to tweed is a tribute,” Virginie Viard said in a statement. “We followed the footsteps of Gabrielle Chanel along the River Tweed, to imagine tweeds in the colors of this landscape.” Her invitation arrived in a large box covered in tweed with matching press material inside. Inside her venue – the Grand Palais Éphémère on Place Joffre, which is standing in as Chanel’s show venue while the real deal is refurbished in time for the Olympics in 2024 – Viard followed suit, swathing walls and chairs in the founder’s trademark material.
It was partly a boyfriend wardrobe
Viard flexed her tweedy muscle in every garment and accessory type under the Scottish sun, imagining a runway version of what Gabrielle Chanel might have worn on “her walks through the Scottish countryside [where] she would gather ferns and bouquets of flowers to inspire the local artisans for the tones [of tweed] she wanted.” With all those fabric fibres covering every inch of the Chanel surroundings, you’d be tempted to call it a woolly affair, but there was no doubting Viard’s intentions. Oversized coats, magnified shooting jackets, and voluminous tailored trousers evoked a borrowed men’s wardrobe she attributed to Gabrielle Chanel’s relationship with the Duke of Westminster. “There’s nothing sexier than wearing the clothes of the person you love,” Viard said.
It travelled through the 1920s, ‘60s and ‘80s
Eventually, the collection relocated from the Scottish Highlands in the 1920s to London in the 1960s, and the Great British youth culture’s appropriation of those heritage codes. Viard interpreted that moment in a wardrobe fairly true to the decade’s codes and styling, generating a strong sense of retro seen through a contemporary lens. It materialized in little skirt suits in tweed, figure-hugging ladylike jackets and knee-length coats styled with opaque hosiery and wool-on-wool knitted accessories. Linking to her Beatles soundtrack, Viard said she was thinking of “very colorful record covers” from the period. Often, the collection seemed to have a tweed-covered foot in the 1980s as well, where voluminous blousons, harem-cut track pants, and knee-length skirt suits felt at home.
Bags came in tweed, too
Viard gave her accessories the tweed treatment (tweedment?), too, styling outfits tonally with tweed bags matching fabric elements of the models’ outfits. It was echoed in small bags – a recurring fascination on runways at the moment – which manifested in tiny heart shapes and slightly larger round clutches. Leather bags picked up the vibrant colors from which Viard had woven her tweeds, breaking up with the wool of it all with bright pink and turquoise numbers that will soon get the waiting lists going chez Chanel.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk