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Photography has a symbiotic relationship to fashion; you simply can’t have one without the other. But for Chanel, it goes even deeper. “Fashion is about clothes, models, and photographers,” stated Chanel’s creative director Virginie Viard in the spring-summer 2022 press notes. “Karl Lagerfeld used to photograph the Chanel campaigns himself. Today, I call upon photographers. I love the way that they see CHANEL. It supports and inspires me.” Viard called upon Inez & Vinoodh to lens a campaign that accompanies Chanel’s SS22 runway debut. It includes five films starring Jennie, Lily-Rose Depp, Alma Jodorowsky, Rebecca Dayan, and Quannah Chasinghorse-Potts, alongside a set of portraits of the cast repeating the same exact pose, holding a camera to their face.
“It’s a magical object and a sexy gesture, which evokes so many memories. I used to love the sound of flashbulbs going off at the shows in the eighties when the models were on a raised runway. I wanted to recapture that emotion.”
That very emotion is the driving force behind the collection. Presented at the Grand Palais Éphémère, each piece is made for Chanel enthusiasts who scour resale markets, reinterpreted today by Viard’s deft hands. The show opened with simple bathing suits draped with chain belts, destined for Supers vacationing the Amalfi Coast in 1987 or 2022. Breaking up the monochrome warm-up, the show diverged toward beautifully patchworked denim and crochet separates, then exploded into technicolor tweeds that belong to John Hughs’ preppy protagonists. Punchy accessories drive the ’80s theme home, from heart-shaped bags to neon acrylic costume jewelry. Closing the collection was a symphony of butterfly silks that we presume are already being locked up in vintage archives for slumber, ready to reappear in twenty-so years when “the ’80s is back.” Again.
The collection itself doesn’t offer the cerebral intensity that fashion has a reputation for, but that’s what Chanel has always done best. Viard captured the timeless, albeit naive, joy of the ’80s that offers a lighthearted reprieve during times like these. We can’t always take fashion seriously if life is serious enough. Sometimes we yearn for clothes that are easy to digest and create an instant pang to shop. The entire runway is a mental shopping list, and we’re collectively jotting it down enthusiastically.
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