CHANEL | The spirit of Dakar
Unveiled inside the former Palais de Justice in Dakar, on December 6th, 2022, the CHANEL – Dakar 2022/23 Métiers d’art collection by Virginie Viard is a vibrant new interpretation of the pop-soul-funk-disco-punk decade of the 1970s. Documented by the Swedish photographer Mikael Jansson, the season’s campaign celebrates the explosion of energy and freedom of the era with a resolutely contemporary allure, captured against breathtaking scenery in the shifting light of the Senegalese capital from the break of day until after dark.
“Being in Dakar at the time of the show was an extraordinary experience on so many levels,” recalls Mikael Jansson, continuing his collaboration with the House that began in 2020. “We scouted all over Dakar including the Palais de Justice where the show took place. The creative energy was palpable. Dakar is a vibrant city with modern and historic contrasts and the approach was very much in a spirit of cultural exchange and partnership with local artistic groups of various disciplines.”
Roaming from the sandy beaches of Les Almadies along the city’s tranquil waterfront to its light-soaked rooftop terraces and the airy volumes of the former Palais de Justice, the campaign immortalises the Ethiopian model Amar Akway and Dutch model Rianne Van Rompaey in a series of cinematic images that celebrate the collection’s innate eclecticism against the built and natural environs of Dakar. Creating exquisite dialogues of saturated colour and texture, the codes of CHANEL are amplified within the elemental beauty of the surroundings.
Embellished with the exceptional craftsmanship executed in the ateliers of the Maisons d’art in Paris, silhouettes from the collection are feats of incredible lightness and sumptuous decoration. From the airy swing of flared suits in burnt orange and forest green fantasy tweeds, to the relaxed nonchalance of patterned knitwear, the geometries of nature are present throughout. Dense floral embroideries, wooden beadwork and metallic chainmail bring forth layers of craft and CHANEL symbolism, as do new interpretations of lion’s head jewelry, strands of pearls, and double C cuffs in enamel and resin.
“I was conscious of trying to evoke some of the spirit of Dakar as well as showcasing the extraordinary craftsmanship and artistic techniques of the Métiers d’art collection,” Mikael Jansson adds. “Working with Virginie over these years has been amazing and inspiring. Creation is always at the forefront of each project and Virginie is very generous in allowing artistic freedom and creativity.”
In a visual journey across the city, each image is a freeze frame of CHANEL in movement, and a timeless souvenir of the enduring artistic dialogues created by the House between Paris and Dakar.
To celebrate the arrival of the collection in boutiques, CHANEL once again called on Dimitri Chamblas to make a short film featuring the collection’s silhouettes. Extracts from the performance and the runway show are mixed with previously unseen footage, also filmed in Dakar.
“When we imagined this show with Virginie Viard and her team, we all said that time gave value to things,”confides the choreographer. “From the start, there has been this idea of long-term commitment. CHANEL is a big house, but we have a creative relationship: with Virginie it’s a relationship based on ideas, desires, research and exchanges. I’ve worked in West Africa a lot, but I’d never had the opportunity to do such in-depth, powerful, long-term work. The arrival of CHANEL has really enabled me to do that.”
In the former Palais de Justice in Dakar, the grace of the École des Sables dancers matched the elegance of models Iman Perez, Jenaye Noah, Amar Akway, Vivienne Rohner and Hyunji Shin. A tunic embellished with camellias by the flower-maker Lemarié, a tweed jacket embroidered with wooden beads by the embroiderer Lesage, a leather parka in shades of orange and pink, a sequinned denim ensemble worn with a little lace cape embroidered with tassels by the Montex atelier, a black silk crêpe turban made by the hatter and milliner Maison Michel… Rendered sublime by the exceptional savoir-faire of the Maisons d’art, Virginie Viard’s creations come to life, echoing the vibrant energy of the Senegalese capital.
CHANEL invited the House ambassadors who attended the 2022/23 Métiers d’art show in Dakar to discover the savoir-faire behind the collection in the Maisons d’art ateliers at le19M in Paris.
Producer and model Caroline de Maigret and actress Lyna Khoudri visited the Montex embroiderer’s ateliers and revealed their favourite looks from the collection. Lyna Khoudri admired a two-tone floral embroidery. Made on the reverse side using the Lunéville crochet technique, it embellishes a CHANEL jacket entirely embroidered with almost 78,500 beads (requiring 990 hours of work). For Caroline de Maigret, it was a sweater embellished with tweed patches embroidered using the Cornely machine, then enriched with sequins and facetted beads using the Lunéville crochet technique, before being enhanced by needlework with some 6,000 beads.
During a visit to the ateliers of feather and flower maker Lemarié, the actress expressed her fascination for the sketches and the artisans’ expertise. It was also an opportunity for Caroline de Maigret to talk about the creative dialogue between Virginie Viard and the Maisons d’art that bring CHANEL creations to life.
Accompanied by Caroline de Maigret, Whitney Peak tried her hand at the looms in the Lesage ateliers. The tweed of a coat, in the colours of the Senegalese flag, reminded her of the energy at the Métiers d’art show in Dakar. The actress then discovered Lesage’s legendary embroidery savoir-faire, perfectly embodied by a sleeveless waistcoat swathed in wooden beads in the black and white tones so dear to the House.
CHANEL | The spirit of Dakar