Chanel Makes History | Vanity Fair

Senegal, a country buzzing with inventiveness and artistry, proved to be the ideal setting for the collection, which was inspired by what the brand calls “a 1970s spirit.” Creative director Virginie Viard set the scene from the start – as attendees arrived at the former Palais de Justice, dancers from L’école Des Sables, filled the entrance, performing choreographer Dimitri Chamblas’s “slow show” (which he describes as a “a 20-minute intensive, collective dance whose movements are minute, precise, and concentrated—inspired by principal roots of trance, exultation, telepathy, and unconscious memories.”) As the dancers moved their bodies with precision, bustling guests were stopped in their tracks, forced to pause and fully absorb the magical moment.

L’école Des Sables

Courtesy of Chanel.

Next, musician Obree Daman and his choir opened the show by joyfully singing “Salam Alaikum” (which translates to “peace be unto you”). École des Sables followed behind them, performing a mix of traditional and contemporary African dances. And then came the fashion – the collection offered a playful spin on ‘70s inspired looks, think figure-skimming flares with tunic tops, column knit dresses, oversized knits and towering platform footwear, all made in warm, inviting colors. DJ DBN Gogo closed out the show by playing hypnotic sounds and as the last model exited the runway, Viard appeared to a standing ovation after revealing a collection that somehow epitomized her modus operandi of “meeting, dreaming and building together, with others.”

Virginie Viard

Courtesy of Chanel.

December’s show was only the beginning for Chanel’s relationship with Dakar. Beginning in January, in partnership with Institut Fondamental d’Afrique Noire (IFAN), La Galerie du 19M (a platform for exhibitions, meetings, discoveries and the sharing of practices) will come to Dakar for a special residency focusing on embroidery and weaving trades open to the general public. Chanel hopes to create a long lasting impact and relationship with the Senegalese through a variety of other initiatives that will be announced next year.

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