It looks like Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard won’t be on the receiving end of Miranda Priestly’s infamous collection-canceling pursed lips because florals for fall are indeed groundbreaking.
This season, the lauded French maison opted to highlight the beauty of one of the label’s most iconic and signature codes: the camellia.
The floral motif has become more than a symbol of the brand, rather a sigil or hallmark of its legacy and rich heritage as a pioneering and provocative womenswear maison.
Here in Paris, Viard asks: would a camellia by any other name smell as sweet? And the answer is a resounding yes.
In fact, it would be sweet in any context in which it was presented, whether that be as a boutonniere on a tweed cropped blazer or even embroidered into a tweed dress itself.
It was in 1923 that Chanel first adorned one of their signature little black suits with the blossoming botanical, a decision that Virad has now referenced exactly almost a century later a stones throw from Chanel’s own eminent atelier at 31 Rue Cambon.
Virad was astutely aware of the anniversary, which is why she chose to dedicate the brand’s FW/23 collection to the strength and everlasting synergy between the camellia and Chanel.
“The camellia is more than a theme, it’s an eternal code of the House,” explained Viard in a statement. “I find it reassuring and familiar, I like its softness and its strength.”
This omnipresent motif took centre stage in Chanel’s collection, ubiquitously adorned in every element, from the model’s prairie-style hair which were tied back to resemble a flower in bloom, to their cheeks seemingly awash with No.1 Lip and Cheek balm in Red Camellia.
Over 66 looks, Chanel codified their house signatures: tweed, ivory, pearl and of course, the camilia, for a mod-ish collection inspired by the beatniks of the 60s and Coco Chanel’s affinity for costume jewellery.
Indeed, it was camellia-core on the runway. From the moment the first model, Loli Bahia, stepped out on the runway, you knew this collection would be in bloom.
Classic tweed check was interspersed with embroidered ivory camellias, with models even wearing sheer gloves adorned with the floral motif and black leather trench coats were given a feminine makeover thanks to the edition of the flower.
Elsewhere, lace stockings and even patent knee-high boots were given the camellia-accent.
If you had any doubts about the perseverance and relevance of the rosette boutonniere trend, Chanel just quashed them.