How Many Ways Can You Show a Camellia? At Chanel, the Possibilities Were Endless
There are practical and poetic reasons that Mademoiselle Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel made the camellia blossom a house code (and one that has been maintained as a central theme for the house for more than a century). With a pragmatic air, she pinned it to her belt because the scentless flower didn’t interfere with her signature fragrance. On the more poetic side of things, the camellia blooms in winter while its peer lay dormant waiting for spring. In her time, Chanel waxed elegiac about its “simplicity, shape, purity and vitality”. It turns out the camellia, as pure as its form is, is capable of being transformed infinitely, as evidenced by the Chanel Fall/Winter 2023 collection dedicated to it.
In the center of the show space, a massive camellia arrangement stood, transformed by digital projections created by Inez & Vinoodh that stained it shades of red and pink, or alternatively, gave it a human face. The camellia continued to make its presence known through the collection in a myriad of ways. First out was a monochrome jacket and skirt combination covered in graphic camellia blossoms followed by a black leather coat thick with leather camellias along the collar. It was further abstracted onto mod dresses and tunics. While camellias had their moment, there were other ideas presented as well. We loved the edgy sophistication of a glossy leather cropped blazer and pencil skirt combo, while walking shorts for winter were a trickier concept to grapple with. While it may seem like a show dedicated to the strict bounds of a single flower species might be one-note, Virginie Viard proved that this historic code was a rich inspiration point capable of endless variety.