The Chanel Spring/Summer 2023 Haute Couture show in Paris recently featured a parade of playful animal-inspired designs, starting with a conceptual camel at the entrance. The set was designed in collaboration with artist Xavier Veilhan, who created mobile sculptures of various animals to be displayed alongside the runway. Creative director Virginie Viard explained that the animal theme was a way to freshen up the template of Chanel day suits and add a sense of youthfulness to the collection.
The show featured a mix of shorter, flared suits with top hats and bow ties, paired with little white boots with black-tipped toes. The designs were playful and relatable, with a military-jacketed number in white leading the way. The collection also included abbreviated, gilded Chanel tweeds in the form of short trapeze coats, de-frumpified box-pleated skirts cut as minis, and a tiny sugar-pink coat-dress with a stand-away collar. The designs had a 1960s Mod feel, but not too obviously.
Viard also presented a range of long and slim evening wear, with a chic, neat, parma-violet short sleeved tweed coat and long, body-skimming dresses in tiny polka dots, and black or white lace. When asked if she had been thinking 1930s with these languid dresses, Viard denied any such inspiration. She stated that her goal is to create a “modern wardrobe for real women” and that her collections aren’t fantasy, but rather a way to create pieces that look like snowy, frothy whipped cream.
The show concluded with a bride emerging from a hidden door in the elephant sculpture, wearing a little white dress entirely covered with embroidered doves and a white bow tie. It was a light-touch moment that reflected the spirit of the rest of the show, simple and charming.