“Going beyond the runway show, it’s the event as a whole that I took into account. We’ve been thinking about it for three years. I wanted it to happen gently, over several days of deep, respectful dialoguing,” tells Virginie Viard.
An abundance of plant motifs, lines and geometric shapes, a profusion of warm colours, sequins and sparkling pendants, alongside the subtlety of lace: with its delicate allure, the CHANEL – Dakar 2022/23 Métiers d’art collection takes shape with long, fitted coats, tight, flared trousers, seventies collars, platform shoes, sweatshirts that are oversized, colourful and embroidered with flowers, multicoloured tweeds and dresses shorter at the front than behind.
The beating heart of Virginie Viard’s imagination, a seventies spirit traverses the collection. The pop-soul-funk-disco-punk decade with its fascinating freedom, symbolised by an explosion of energy, is embodied by a jubilant woman. In Virginie Viard’s mind, evoking the 1970s is like asking everything that generates their pulse to bring rhythm into our lives today.
Codes dear to the House are being celebrated, even within the floral motifs. The embroidery work, with its clusters of camellias, intertwined pearls, forests of jewelled buttons and dazzling sequins, harmonises with that of the coated, pleated lace in black or white.
“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. I put all my soul into it. These marvellous encounters from which artistic adventures like this one are born, that’s what drives me.”
Designed between the CHANEL Creation studio in Paris and le19M, between Paris and the porte d’Aubervilliers, where eleven of CHANEL’s Maisons d’art are located, the Métiers d’art collection pays tribute to fashion savoir-faire. Since 2002, it has been presented in different locations all over the world.
“The former Palais de Justice in Dakar, where not only the runway show but also a major part of the accompanying artistic programme are taking place, is one of the most beautiful venues we have ever presented a collection in. It was an obvious choice, and has been a source of inspiration as well.”
Virginie Viard wanted to extend the fleeting moment of beauty and dreams generated by the show for the CHANEL – Dakar 2022/23 Métiers d’art collection, in order to celebrate the artistic scene of this leading cultural capital and the disciplines that she is so fond of, starting with dance with the École des Sables and Dimitri Chamblas, the choreographer of the Slow Show that welcomes guests to the runway show. Dance and music were then intertwined. The dancers from the École des Sables, an international training and creation centre for traditional and contemporary African dances founded by Germaine Acogny, who have been involved in the project since its inception, met up with singer Obree Daman and his choir in Dakar’s former Palais de Justice. DBN Gogo provided the musical finale of the show. Cinema is also at the heart of the project through the collaboration with the Montfermeil and Dakar Kourtrajmé schools who documented the genesis of the collection in Paris and the lead up to the event in Dakar.
Ever since she took over as Artistic Director in 2019, her modus operandi has remained the same: meeting, dreaming, and building together, with others.