Chanel Makes History with its First Fashion Show in Africa
Marion Dupuis - Madame Figaro
The collection Métiers d'art 2022-2023 of the house of rue Cambon, presented last Tuesday in Dakar, was revealed today to the general public on chanel.com. A fashion show of great richness crossed with accents of the seventies that will make history.
Chanel is back to the spirit of travel. Since the collection presented at the MET in New York in December 2018, the luxury label had not presented a fashion show dedicated to its Métiers d'art outside of France. This season, heading to Africa in Dakar, Senegal. This is a first for the house, which has never before shown on the African continent. During a masterclass presented in Miami last November on the occasion of the replica of the 2022-2023 cruise show, Bruno Pavlovsky, President of Chanel's fashion activities, emphasized that he had been thinking about this destination for many years.
"Dakar is an influential artistic capital on the international scene, particularly in areas dear to Chanel such as fashion - a few days before the Métiers d'art show, the 20th edition of Dakar Fashion Week took place - cinema, dance, music, literature and contemporary art", declared the company at the end of the master class. More than a fashion show, this event will give rise to a three-day cultural program that will be accompanied by concrete actions in terms of creative dialogue, sustainable development and transmission of know-how.
The beginning of a wider connection between Chanel and Senegal. Like these teasers presented before the event, four videos on the preparations for the Métiers d'art collection, directed by Ladj Ly and students from the Kourtrajmé school in Montfermeil and Dakar, where the filmmaker also created a film school that trains young Senegalese directors and scriptwriters. In the first video, we could also see the choreographer Dimitri Chamblas and the dancers of the École des Sables (the international center of traditional and contemporary dances of Africa founded by Germaine Acogny) rehearsing their choreography under the gaze of Virginie Viard, the artistic director of Chanel. Beyond the fashion show, it's the whole event that I took into account," says Viard. We've been thinking about it for three years. I wanted it to go smoothly, over several days of deep, respectful exchanges. Some craft partnerships between Paris and Dakar will continue to develop at Chanel's 19M, the brand's new eden, which since 2021 has brought together eleven Maisons d'Art and six hundred exceptional artisans in a huge building sculpted by Rudy Ricciotti at the gates of Aubervilliers.
Senegalese actress Mama Sané (discovered in Mati Diop's Atlantique) opened the show with striped flared pants, belted with a jeweled chain, worn with a small, low-cut tweed jacket and platform shoes. A crazy look, the Chanel chic, both natural and sensual worn by a current seventies most energetic. Also in the cast, the lovely Jenaye Noah, daughter of Yannick Noah, who had already caused a sensation at the Chanel cruise show in Miami.
Pleats, embroidery and camellias signed by the Maisons d'art
The emblematic codes of the house - black and white, camellia, tweed, accumulation of necklaces... - are present here, sublimated by the virtuoso hands of the artisans of the Maisons d'art. Like this jacket entirely covered in pearls made by the Montex embroiderer, combined with painted lace pants. Or this over-sized tweed sweatshirt by Lesage adorned with camellias by the florist Lemarié, this lily-printed muslin dress by the Paloma workshop, or this long pleated skirt by Lognon worn under a green-tone jacket.
The soul of Africa
however, without ever falling into any folkloric spirit, we also feel all the vibrant soul of Africa in this palette of warm colors, these myriads of sequins, this profusion of floral patterns and these multicolored tweed with geometric shapes that cross the jackets and sweaters of the collection. The trouser suits are also reminiscent of the spirit of the images of Malick Sidibé, the legendary Malian photographer who immortalized the youth of Bamako in the years 60-70.
We will especially remember this collection with pop-soul-funk accents this spirit of empowerment to the dazzling elegance. Like this floral fishnet jacket under a rhinestone tie breastplate that, while playing the feminine male, radiates beauty. These triumphant women go from lace dresses of a sensuality to fall to jeans embroidered with brilliance. They also dress in long tweed coats crossed with pink, green, yellow, orange, of a luminosity such as one can imagine when the sun sets in the animated streets of Dakar.
The idea is not just to do a fashion show in the colors of Africa. Chanel affirms it: it has the intention to develop creative partnerships with Senegal. For example, it is organizing the first exhibition of the Galerie du 19M outside the walls at the Musée Théodore Monod-Institut fondamental d'Afrique noire (from January 12 to March 31, 2023), an event for which it has asked several Senegalese artists and craftsmen to collaborate with its crafts. It also wants to help revalorize the exceptional cotton industry in Senegal (abandoned for years due to lack of resources) with a program of aid and financial support over three years. No commercial approach, therefore, says the house with the 2Cs interlaced, but rather a deep desire to reweave links between the two countries in order to open a new look at the future.