Chanel READY-TO-WEAR Fall 2023 Collection
Despite this week’s subzero temperatures, the camellias have bloomed in Paris, often the first hopeful sign of spring. Maybe that’s why Coco Chanel made them a part of her brand’s iconography. In 1923, she adorned a garment with one of the flowers for the first time. Did Virginie Viard’s choice of the Chanel camellia as the focal point of her autumn ready-to-wear presentation have anything to do with the fact that this year marks the brand’s centennial?
Viard had set up a large white camellia as a symbolic backdrop and had genuine ones placed at each place setting, but she didn’t make a big deal out of the anniversary. She noted in her press release, “The camellia is more than a theme, it’s an eternal code of the house.” “I like how gentle yet sturdy it is; it comforts and reassures me.”
Viard seeks to build an air of modern authenticity around Chanel’s exceptional Frenchness. She began her season with monochromatic pieces in black, white, and grey, like many others. On a long, narrow tweed coat, white camellias climbed a black trellis; on sleek black patent Mod-ish suits, they clustered like a corsage; and on cardigan jackets, they popped up like polka dots. Flowers might be found in the tiniest of embroideries, in the forms of buttons, in a huge, fuzzy angora design on a sweater, and dangling from a plethora of chain bags.
Karl Lagerfeld taught supremely that the formalities of the Chanel canon are always subject for revision. His former first assistant and successor, she stays within the bounds of Chanel’s elegance and decorativeness while adding her own unique spin. White flowery lace tights and knee boots complemented the tweed bermudas, bloomers, and leather shorts that accompanied some of the outfits.
Evening was not heavily featured in Wizard’s collection, with the finale consisting of camellia-print silk gowns worn over sweaters and long johns. More like Nicolas Ghesquière’s Vuitton collection, this showed what Parisian elegance may look like on women in the streets. It was refreshing to see Viard include average-sized models in her realistic vision. Chanel, with its iconic camellias, is a fashion house unlike any other, with a wide variety of products that appeal to all types of women.