With Virginie Viard, you can always predict what the Chanel collection will be like: quintessentially Chanel. For autumn-winter 2022, the designer celebrated the brand’s historical love for 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 colours 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 – Viard followed suit, swathing walls and chairs in the founder’s trademark material. 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. 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 materialised in little skirt suits in tweed, figure-hugging ladylike jackets and knee-length coats styled with thick hosiery and wool-on-wool knitted accessories. Linking to her Beatles soundtrack, Viard said she was thinking of “very colourful 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. Some looks were better, some worse (especially the eveningwear), but in overall, this was a proper and very timeless Chanel collection.
Collage by Edward Kanarecki.