Habitat. Chanel SS23 Couture

The latest Chanel couture collection is drama-free and controversy-negative. Generally pretty and easily digestible clothes. And there were animals, too – but not in a Schiaparelli kind of way. What comes up when you research Coco Chanel’s home interior is her love for an animal theme: a model of a camel on a side-table, large bronzes of deer clustered around her fireplace, and lion effigies here, there, and everywhere. Virginie Viard collaborated with the artist Xavier Veilhan to come up with a set idea for the spring-summer 2023 couture show orbiting around Coco’s cozy habitat. A parade of something between cute Chanel drum majorettes, or perhaps, circus ringmasters, appeared on yesterday’s runway. They flipped along in their short, flared suits with the odd top hat and bow tie, shod in little white cross-laced boots with Chanel’s signature black-tipped toes. By this time, they were walking around Veilhan’s menagerie of mobile animal sculptures – a horse, lion, deer, buffalo, bird, fish, dog, and elephant – which had been trundled out to join the camel. Still, it’s not in Viard’s nature as a creative director to push a concept over clothes. Instead, here was a collection of haute couture that felt youthfully relatable. The spectacle of her march of the majorettes simply became a device for freshening up the template of Chanel day suits, led out by a charming military-jacketed number in white. That was followed by varieties of abbreviated, gilded Chanel tweeds: a short trapeze coat, de-frumpified box-pleated skirts cut as minis, and then a tiny sugar-pink coat-dress with a stand-away collar. It was a bit ’60s Mod maybe, but not too obviously. And then, at the finale, out popped the bride from a hidden door in the elephant. She was wearing a little white dress entirely covered with embroidered doves and a white bow tie. It was a charming sight.

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.
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