Chanel has a history of Brobdingnagian runways, and for its spring 2023 haute couture presentation, large animal sculptures by French artist Xavier Veilhan took pride of place at the Grand Palais Éphémère in Paris. The inspiration? Chanel creative director “Virginie Viard asked me if I could work around the idea of Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment and its bestiary, where we first got together at the beginning of our collaboration,” Veilhan stated on the show notes. (Madame Chanel fancied displaying animal figures in her apartment on rue Cambon.)
From the mobile animal sculptures—made of plywood, paper, and cardboard—models emerged in the tweed sets, dress coats, pintucked blouses, and capes the fashion label is known for. Throughout the collection, garments are outfitted with kittens, rabbits, birds, deer, and on one bouclé tweed jacket, a beaded corgi. The main takeaway, however, from the collection: the mini skirt. Viard confirms the silhouette’s staying power with a particular Chanel flounce of youthful gamine feel.
A fashion show is a three-part act. There is the show before the show of grand entrances: K-pop singer G-dragon, house ambassador Vanessa Paradis, and Tilda Swinton mobbed at her front-row seat; the actual fashion show; and the show after the show of people-watching, with Olivia Dean chatting it up, Marion Cotillard navigating photographers, Charlotte Casiraghi acting her part as royalty, while nepo baby Apple Martin, daughter of Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin, made her Paris fashion week debut.