In October of 2022, CHANEL presented its Spring/Summer 2023 ready-to-wear collection in Paris. Inspiration drew heavily from the 1961 Alain Resnais film “L’Année Dernière à Marienbad” (Last Year in Marienbad in English) and Coco Chanel’s involvement in the costume design. CHANEL’s connection to the big-screen dates back to the 1930s, and Karl Lagerfeld subsequently referenced the Avant Garde French film in his Spring/Summer 2011 ready-to-wear collection. Virginie Viard celebrates this rich history within CHANEL and gives it new freedom and life. “The films we have seen, those that possess us and those we invent for ourselves, Marienbad, the Nouvelle Vague, the allure according to Gabrielle Chanel, Karl, the night, feathers, sequins, heels: I like it when things get mixed up,” observes Virginie Viard.
The collection was evocative of a dreamworld, much like the French film that inspired it. The pieces are intentionally fragmented to transport the viewer into an imaginary world. Bows, feathers, pastels and metallic elements were infused into various pieces to create differences in texture and silhouette. CHANEL’s signature flower, the camellia, appeared in appliques, prints, and accessories as a nod to Coco Chanel. Boyish silhouettes exist in harmony with elegant gowns and classic tailoring to paint a picture of the modern CHANEL woman.
To portray CHANEL presently and properly pay homage to its heritage, Virginie Viard sought out a muse that was the most faithful embodiment of the brand, the alluring Kristen Stewart. “Kristen Stewart is the person who reminds me most of Gabrielle Chanel,” says Virginie Viard, “she is also an actress who is very loyal to CHANEL, she has a very special relationship with the House. When I first met her in 2013, it was instant. I’ve always been fascinated by her face, her attitude… And she understands CHANEL clothing so well.”
Authentic connection is important to Virginie Viard and Kristen Stewart’s relationship with the Maison and inspired a fresh interpretation of the classic house references. “Whether it’s her, or the other women I dress, I need to feel that they like the clothes anyway. But, of the people around me, she is the closest to Gabrielle Chanel, at least to my idea of her. She understands CHANEL, its clothes. And with her, it becomes even more modern. This collection, it’s also her,” said Viard.
In the spring/summer 2023 ready-to-wear campaign, Kristen Stewart looks captivating in various looks from the collection, appearing in a video campaign by Inez & Vinoodh, provoking new definitions of sophistication within CHANEL. When asked about her affinity for the collection and relationship with Virginie Viard, Kristen Stewart elaborated on how she personally and authentically aligns with CHANEL, “Virginie is an authentic spirit and therefore so is her art. She has a mode of expression that she is able to funnel into what she creates that IS her… and also all of us. I think allure is reciprocal. You get as much as you put into something. With Virginie, the human connection, the curiosity, the allure is unending, it’s boundless. CHANEL doesn’t impose a fantasy. It encourages you to deepen your reality. Aspire to take up space. It’s so helpful to feel grounded by a chosen aesthetic, one you feel chosen by: clothing that bolsters you in environments that feel flimsy or insubstantial—or even ones that feel intimidating—is essential. Wearing CHANEL has always imbued me with a feeling of capability.”
View the gallery for the full campaign and an exclusive look at behind-the-scenes on-set.