10 Runway Looks from Chanel’s Métiers d’art Show in Dakar
Photo: Chanel

10 Runway Looks from Chanel’s Métiers d’art Show in Dakar

For its first ever fashion show on sub-Saharan African soil, Chanel staged a celebration to remember in Dakar, Senegal.

Before Chanel touched down in Dakar to unveil its new Métiers d’art collection, Senegalese photographer Malick Bodian had taken campaign shots for the French house. Featuring models Alaato Jazyper and Loli Bahia posing near the River Seine in Paris, it was the first glimpse of the garments designed by creative director Virginie Viard.

As expected from the Metiers d'art tradition, it highlighted the sartorial relationship between Chanel and specialist ateliers. A jacket with handmade floral embroidery from Montex, clusters of camellias on a Lesage tweed sweatshirt from flower-maker Lemarié, pleat work on a skirt from Longnon, and so on.

On December 6 in Dakar, Chanel turned the heart of the former Palais de Justice into a runway, making it the first European luxury brand to stage a fashion show on the African continent. The venue is significant for its artistic essence, home to the Senegalese capital’s art Biennale. With a guest list of 800 people, the Métiers d’art event felt different this time.

The shadow of French colonialism in Senegal complicates our understanding of Chanel’s mission in Dakar, in staging the fashion show as part of a three-day cultural festival of local talent across music, film, and art. But with Chanel promising genuine partnership and development opportunities for local craftspeople, the Métiers d’art runway became the best dialogue for this cultural synergy.

After an entertaining opener from local singer Obree Daman and dancers from the École des Sables, it was time to revel in the craftwork on display. Intricate embroideries, sparkling sequins, geometric shapes, and floral motifs were seen on fitted coats and sweatshirts. Chanel’s signature tweeds were reimagined with Viard looking to evoke 1970s funk-disco-punk nostalgia. Platform shoes hit the floors rhythmically to the soundtrack from Parisian DJ Michel Gaubert. A celebration, indeed.

Here are select looks from Chanel’s Métiers D’art 2022/2023 runway show: