On December 6 in Dakar, Senegal, we saw the culmination of multiple years of planning when Chanel debuted its 2022/2023 Métiers d’Art show at the former Palais de Justice. The maison’s travels to Dakar were fueled by more than just a collection presentation, however. With programming stretched across multiple days, the collection’s presentation was at the center of a cultural exchange between Chanel and the city of Dakar, inspired by an appreciation for the artistic capital, which is rich with fashion, art, music, cinema, dance, and other creative facets.
“Going beyond the runway show, it’s the event as a whole that I took into account. We’ve been thinking about it for three years. I wanted it to happen gently, over several days of deep, respectful dialoguing,” said Artistic Director Virginie Viard.
Viard’s latest designs were shown in the courtyard of the Palais de Justice, where natural light flooded the open-air enclosure and greenery lined the runway. Contemporary Africa dance from École des Sables and choreographer Dimitri Chamblas welcomed guests, before singer Obree Daman and his choir set an invigorating tone for the looks that were about to unfold.
Models walked along the warm, earthy stays and striped tile flooring of the venue, in an elegantly energetic collection that suggested a 1970s spirit. The decade’s many creative movements—soul, disco, funk, and punk—informed the garments’ shapes, prints, textures, and warm color palette. The iconic Chanel codes we know and love were reconceived and recontextualized for the collection, with imagery like the double C, camellia flowers, and other icons accompanied by details like flared trouser hems, wide-lapel collars, platform shoes, florals, and psychedelic patterns.
In hues like tree green, fuchsia, teal, and burnt orange, we saw Chanel’s signature tweed applied to classic takes on tailoring with skinny fitted jackets, sets with vests layered over bold-printed blouses, and long duster coats, which were paired with pieces like leather bell bottoms and bejeweled monogram tees. Hinting to the more bohemian styles of the decade were layerings of tunic dresses and flared pants, collared shifts with skinny monogrammed denim, and long, gauzy kaftans, which were styled with pieces like turbans, belted waists, and abundantly layered necklaces.
Once all the looks had made their debut—including favorites like a dress with crocheted lace flounces and a pearl belt, or a tweed suit worn open over a draped jewel-and-chain shirt—the finale was signaled with a performance from the DJ and producer DBN Gogo. Following the runway presentation, collection viewers were invited the next day for a screening of a film by Montfermeil and Dakar Kourtrajmé schools, which captured the making of the collection as part of the house’s creative exchange.
“Real dialogues, nourished over the long term, it is this human and warm dimension that motivates my work and that I try to re-transcribe,” said Viard. “I put all my soul into it. These marvelous encounters from which artistic adventures like this one are born, that’s what drives me.”