Since first taking the helm at Chanel in 2019, Virginie Viard has quietly celebrated faithful fans of historic French brand by designing tasteful, elegant, and purposeful clothes that are meant to be fully enjoyed out in the world. And this season, she’s spotlighting one longtime partner of the maison in particular: Kristen Stewart. For Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2023 runway show, Stewart’s visage, shown alongside clips from Alain Resnais’ “Last Year in Marienbad,” appeared super-sized, serving as the backdrop for event at Paris’ Grand Palais Éphémère.
“Whether it’s her [Stewart], or the other women I dress, I need to feel that they like the clothes anyway,” Viard said in the show notes. “But, of the people around me, she is the closest to Gabrielle Chanel, at least to my idea of her. She understands Chanel, its clothes. And with her, it becomes even more modern. This collection, it’s also her.”
Sitting front row at the show, Stewart showed off exactly what her aesthetic entails, she styled a striped sweatshirt with a tweed skirt and combat boots — a modern and dare we say down-to-earth take on one of the world’s most coveted luxury brands.
In Viard’s homage to Stewart, she crafted a lineup that is both sophisticated and playful. While there were touches of tweed carried over from last season, the focus is on short hemlines and relaxed separates. The color palette was mostly monochromatic, with a few touches of pink, navy, and splashes of shining gold. But, don’t let the seeming simplicity give off the impression that these clothes are understated; instead mixed textures and layered accessories leave an unfussy yet complex impression — this isn’t minimalist dressing by any means.
Since becoming an ambassador for the brand in 2016, Stewart has walked red carpets in countless Chanel looks, but often she opts for the unexpected, forgoing classic column gowns for tiny shorts or jumpsuits. Mirroring her easy sensuality, the touches of shimmer and sheer this season, along with a focus on diverse textures, are meant to offer an array of interpretations on the theme of allure — and all of the ways that it can exist in the way that we dress.
Viard also kept things fairly practical on the footwear front. Stewart has been known to quickly ditch her red carpet heels for more comfortable loafers (or even to walk the carpet barefoot). So, while the collection is not entirely made up of flats, the featured heels are low and practical — riffs on the brand’s signature slingback pump. Allure doesn’t have to come by way of a striking stiletto.
While the footwear was comfort-focused (with a shimmery twist), bags this season were pure fun — mini-fied, sequined, and splashed with heart motifs (a trend that has popped up a few times this season). Like with the label’s fingerless elbow-high leather gloves and chain choker necklaces, the result is a little bit sweet and a little bit punk. As noted by Viard, “I like it when things get mixed up.”
In an era where the new generation of Chanel wearers take a closer approach to Stewart than to that of their grandmothers in coordinated suit sets and stockings, a little bit of mixing up is a good thing.
Read on to see more from the collection, or watch the show in full below.