Chanel Brings the Senegalese Art Scene to its Metiers d’Art Show

From tweed to sequins: all the looks from the long-awaited Chanel fashion show in Dakar

Courtesy of Chanel

Chanel presented its Métiers D’art collection in Senegal’s capital, Dakar.  Held at the former Palais de Justice, Chanel was the European luxury brand to organize a fashion show in sub-Saharan Africa.

The runway show took place in a three-day event, allowing 800 attendees (including Naomi Campbell and Pharrell Williams) to explore Dakar’s creative scene. There were visitors, artists’ studios, art galleries, and craft markets.

The brand even asked filmmaker Ladj Ly and students from the Kourtrajmé school (a leading institute for aspiring directors and writers) in Montfermeil and Dakar to make a documentary series about the show. “The idea of this project is to bridge the gap between the Montfermeil school and the Dakar school. It’s a very real exchange. Kourtrajmé’s motto has always been total freedom. We explained the project to the students, gave them a vision, and then they came up with things with their own artistic identity while staying true to the Chanel universe “.

The brand collaborated with local artists, dancers, musicians, and writers, highlighting them both at the presentation and throughout the week. 

Virginie Viard, the artistic director, explained the choice of location: “The former Palais de Justice in Dakar, where not only the fashion show but also an important part of the artistic program associated with it takes place, is one of the most beautiful places where we have had the opportunity to present a collection, it has imposed itself as a matter of course, as a source of inspiration as well”.

Backstage Chanel Pre-Fall 2022/23

“Real dialogues, nurtured over the long term, it is this human and warm dimension that motivates my work and that I try to re-transcribe. I put all my soul into it. Those wonderful encounters from which artistic adventures like this one are born, that’s what drives me.”

The 1970s, which she described as a decade of “fascinating freedom,” were a touchstone for flared tweed pantsuits, geometric beaded vests and cross skirts over pants, and vivid fabrics where leopard and camellia patterns clashed. Elsewhere, there were gold pendants in the shape of the African continent, bags with wooden chains, and a denim and workwear section.

The lookbook was shot by Senegalese photographer Malick Bodian. There were 19 African models, including a dozen from Senegal. The show opened with dancers from the École des Sables and Dimitri Chamblas, the Slow Show choreographer, accompanied by singer Obree Daman and his choir. “Knowing that this country was once occupied not only by the French but also by the Portuguese and the Dutch, coming here with a French Maison that understands this history, going back and working with the culture, not promising a false façade of equality. But real equity in the process is a beautiful thing,” said Pharrell Williams in a talk before the show, which took place at the fashion show as one of the special guests.

Details Chanel Pre-Fall 2022/23

Representing a more modern version of this carefree girl, the Métiers d’art 2023 collection comes to life with a myriad of plant motifs, lines, and geometric prints, full of colour, sequins, and lace, balancing the French charm with the implosive desire of that decade. A dialogue that could be found on the catwalk of the Métiers d’Art show, where the iconic codes of Chanel and the talents of its eleven art houses reflected the energy and warm colours of the Senegalese capital.

We highlight the collarless jacket and flared pants, both cut in a mix of warm tweed, the layered baroque jewellery, the pearl skirt, the Jill Kortleve sweater, where the knit ws mixed with embroidery, beads, and other precious objects with faux charm accents. Aside from a few sandals and classic pointed-toe heels, most of the footwear stuck to the chunky platform sandal theme that was so iconic of the retro decade. 

Courtesy of Chanel Pre-Fall 2022/23

Bringing Parisian elegance to the streets of Senegal was a juxtaposition, both on paper and in person, but the reasoning behind this cultural exchange was based on understanding the artistic influence of the Dakar scene, known for being a place that fuses fashion, film, dance, literature and music together: all aspects of creativity that Chanel prides itself on elevating.

Take a closer look at Chanel Métiers d’Art Pre-Fall 2022/23 Collection

Courtesy of Chanel
Courtesy of Chanel
Courtesy of Chanel
Courtesy of Chanel