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When in Paris: Laurence Fortin-Côté’s CHANEL Haute Couture Diary

Waking up in Paris, the day of CHANEL’s Fall/Winter 2022/2023 Haute Couture show is a feeling like no other. This was my second time seeing a CHANEL collection on the runway and adding a Haute Couture collection to my experiences is definitely a career highlight. There is something about this city and the universe of Gabrielle Chanel that is undeniably inspiring to me. Each time I visit I get more immersed in her fascinating life and the elements she drew inspirations from. I always look forward to see Virginie Viard‘s interpretation of the brand’s heritage and how she will express her modern take on femininity with each new collection.

I decided to go for a two piece tweed set from the 2022 Métiers d’art collection which I paired with my own CHANEL classic pumps and a simple white T-shirt underneath. I loved the contrast of a plain white T-shirt with the sophisticated and intricate texture of the tweed. I always try to style dressier pieces with more casual elements to make it more comfortable and personal. I added some beautiful CHANEL heart earrings and a gold leather Camellia brooch to tie the look together and add some extra details, which felt perfect or this special occasion.

This season’s the show was taking place at the Étrier de Paris, an equestrian centre in the bois de Boulogne. The set outside the venue, by Xavier Veilhan was a clear continuation of the one he designed for the Haute Couture Spring-Summer 22 collection. A combination of virtual and physical elements juxtaposed with large and  playful geometric sculptures creating a dynamic landscape. The whole set felt like something of a dream and it only got better once we transitioned into the venue. Geometric patterns in shades of midnight blue, beige and silver were covering the walls and seating areas which were arranged around a monumental silver mobile as a center piece for the space. I could not wait for the show to start! 

For me, hearing the first few notes of the soundtrack with the anticipation of seeing the opening look coming out from behind the scenes is the moment when I get transported into another world. There is nothing else quite like it! Following the rhythm of the music by Sébastien Tellier, the first model came out, opening the show in a bright green jacket and skirt set styled with a pair of black gaucho ridding boots, setting the tone for the rest of the collection. The iconic tweed textures mixed with the graphic and intricate embroideries in accent shades of pink and green created a beautiful ensemble of looks. I particularly loved the idea of ease of movement incorporated in all of the creations, from the long skirts to the airy tulle and chiffon pieces and not to mention, the elegant hats on some of the looks. There was a sense of lightness that is not commonly at the forefront of many fall collections. I could not think of a better way to pay an ode to the craftsmanship of the house. 

To conclude an already perfect morning, the model Jill Kortleve came down the runway as CHANEL’s iconic bride with ease and grace. The whole bridal look was the perfect amalgamation of the primary themes of Virginie Viard’s collection; ease of wear, effortlessness and redefined femininity. 

It’s safe to say that I left the venue inspired and extremely grateful to have had the chance to witness such greatness first hand. A moment I will never forget.

All images and text by Laurence Fortin-Côté.

View CHANEL’s Fall/Winter Haute Couture collection here.