Elusive Chic. Chanel Pre-Fall 2022

With a snip of her ribbon-looped scissors, Gabrielle Chanel released women from their corsets and put them in fluid jersey suits and loose chemise dresses. “Nothing is more beautiful than freedom of the body,” she said. With sweeping synergy, this season’s Chanel Métiers d’Art collection by Virginie Viard was equally liberating, with a pinch of denim and CC logo added. Viard invited guests to Le19M, the newly opened building devoted to the workshops of the maison’s artisans, where she presented her most crafts-centric collection within the very same architecture that had informed its cuts and motifs. Named after the arrondissement it inhabits, the triangular Le19M was designed by Rudy Ricciotti whose “concrete thread” façade evokes the intricacy of embroidered haute couture cloth. Viard echoed those lines – as well as elements from the building’s interior – in a collection she called “metropolitan.” The pre-fall 2022 line up is a combination of Chanel’s craftsmanship masters’ work – Lesage, Montex, Lemarié, Lognon, Goosens, Maison Michel, and Massaro – whose painstaking, super time-consuming, beautiful pieces of artisan work are put into the world to contribute to a bigger picture: the full look. Placing these age-old practices in a contemporary context, Viard took that look to the streets – at least those left of the River Seine. Interpreting the Chanel branding through graffiti-like embroidery, she exercised her take on the logomania. A top nestled the double-C among floral appliqué, the same logo was playfully speckled on cardigans and trousers in fluffy silver embroideries, and the Chanel name appeared tagged in multi-colored crystals across the front pockets of a tweed blouson that evoked a sweatshirt. A major Chanel tip: top the tweed outfit with an eternally charming hair bow. It took Viard a while to find her voice at Chanel and make her offerings something more than just riskless sets of the brand’s signatures. Now, the Chanel woman personifies unforced elegance and easy chic fit for contemporary times. And she sure loves gorgeous details!

Collage by Edward Kanarecki.