By Julianna Tramposch
On 7 December 2023, the luxury French fashion house Chanel transformed a regular street in Manchester, England, into an iconic catwalk for their Métiers d’Art show. Since 2002, Chanel has produced this annual show to pay homage to the many skilled artisans who play a vital role in the company’s craftsmanship and quality, a defining component of the brand’s signature heritage. The location of the Métiers d’Art varies each year, taking place in different cities that are rich in culture and have served as inspiration for Chanel collections. Previous locations have included Dakar, Rome, and Dallas. This year, many fashionistas were surprised to hear Chanel’s choice of city: Manchester, a city with historic ties to rock and grunge — the complete opposite of Parisian chic.
Creative Director Virginie Viard explained why Manchester proves to be a perfect location for the 2023 Métiers d’Art show. With the street being specifically in the Northern Quarter, Viard revealed the city’s music scene as her true inspiration for this collection. Viewing Manchester as the birthplace of “grunge-pop,” this city was the breeding ground for influential rock bands such as Joy Division, New Order, and The Stone Roses back in the late 1900s. A press release in anticipation of the show said, “[Chanel] had chosen Manchester because it is one of the most effervescent cities of pop culture and an avant-garde one, whose bands, spanning all genres, have changed the history of music” (SCMP). A mix of trendy bars and traditional English shops served as the background, adding even more complexity to this show.
Each year, Chanel strives to incorporate subtle ties to the city where the Métiers D’Art show takes place. In 2013, when the show took place in Dallas, Chanel incorporated stars, stripes, and cowboy boots. In 2022, when the show took place in Dakar, Chanel incorporated beaded jackets and their signature CC logo in animal print. For Manchester, Chanel has incorporated ties to the Manchester football (soccer) culture by having their models wear football scarves, and the color palette is heavily focused on Sky Blue for Manchester City Football Club and Red for Manchester United Football Club.
This event welcomed models, celebrities, and global fashionistas, including Anna Wintour, Gene and Lennon Gallagher, David and Victoria Beckham, and Chanel Ambassador Kristen Stewart. The invitation for this year’s Métiers D’Art show resembled a vinyl record, with a Manchester-themed Chanel scarf and a magazine cover of Coronation Street. In all, the Manchester location represented a cherished location for Gabrielle Coco Chanel herself and Viard’s love of cultural influence on fashion. Fashion is a huge part of music, as is music to fashion. For a brand that exudes elegance, this edgy take demonstrates the versatility of Chanel and another outstandingly successful show by Chanel.