The region’s notable rock and roll and genteel vibes made a unique backdrop for the classic Parisian label.
You can’t blame Alexa Chung for getting all fan girl-y over Virginie Viard, the creative director of Chanel. Chung was meeting Viard for the first time at the unveiling of the 2024 Métiers d’Art collection in Manchester on December 7. “I asked her for a photo because I’m such a fan but then everyone was like, ‘she doesn’t like taking photos,’” shared Chung, dressed in a Chanel tweed coat, leather shorts and patent boots and a “non-Chanel” thermal vest due to the damp North England chill.
Viard might be camera shy but her musical taste is more out there, including ’80s bands The Smiths and New Order, whose hit “Bizarre Love Triangle” closed out the show. The Mancunian sound is just one of the reasons why Chanel’s traveling road show landed in Manchester, a buoyant city with a high-octane nightlife, a globally renowned football team and a thoughtful mix of old and new architecture. Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel vacationed an hour away at Eaton Hall, the residence of her longtime beau The Duke of Westminster. Hunting and fishing were among her favourite holiday pursuits and where she fell for the mannish, tweedy style of rural English attire. Manchester was also known for textile production and by 1860 half the world’s cotton was processed there, earning it the nickname Cottonopolis.
And so the looks paraded (mostly in flat Mary Janes!) down the middle of a damp street reflected both the rock and roll and genteel vibes that the region is known for — mixed with classic Parisian elegance. There were glossy black leathers, belted knits, soccer scarves and tweed suits in a mostly dank palette with intermittent pops of pink and apple green.
The Metiers d’Art collection is a way for Chanel to show off the talents of the legendary feather makers, embroiderers and other hand crafters who work in a state of the art building in Paris known as 19M. Sequinned treatments in this collection included teacups, cakes and vinyl records and the double C logo also came in safety pins (1,000 of them!), a nod to the town’s music legends. Residents living above the street’s bars and tattoo parlour looked on in delight, especially with Kristen Stewart, Hugh Grant, Lucy Boynton and Tilda Swinton sitting front row.
And so what did Chung, whose style has captivated millions on social media, think of it all?
“I loved all the black leather which weirdly looked quite Elizabethan to me,” she said, noting the puffed sleeves and white lace. “And the baker boy hats which are quite a Northern English thing. They reminded me of a Kate Moss shoot in the ’90s that’s on my Pinterest board.
“There was also a lot of practicality, like the girls had scarves or knee high socks on — things that I think are idiosyncratic quirks that British people do naturally because we are always concerned about the weather. We need to wear something that you can enjoy in the rain or sun and that’s weatherproof.”
Click through the gallery below to see all the celebs from the show.