VSoco Chanel borrowed her first tweed jacket from the Duke of Westminster, her lover, in 1924; within a year, she had made the look her own, with a tweed skirt suit appearing for the first time in her Paris collection.
In true showbiz style, Paris fashion week ended with one of its greatest successes. A Chanel show in homage to the iconic tweed suit was a surefire crowd pleaser. Clutching the pink tweed squares sent as invitations, guests sat on tweed-upholstered seats to see a spectacle of tweed dresses, coats and suits. If it was possible to sing along with a parade, the audience would have known all the words.
Designer Virginie Viard said she thought of Coco Chanel who, on walks in the Scottish countryside, picked ferns, flowers and heather to model the color palette for her next collection. This season, Coco came with a generous side order from Kristen Stewart as Diana, Princess of Wales in Pablo Larran’s recent film Spencer. The show’s shiny tweeds, worn with short skirts and adorned with gold buttons, recalled the opening scene in which Stewart, whose on-screen wardrobe was made by Chanel, crosses a muddy English field in a blazer in tartan tweed and pearl gobstopper earrings.
When Karl Lagerfeld was at the helm, every Chanel show was a 15-minute fashion fairground ride – guests were immersed in a spaceship launch pad one season, a Parisian bistro the next.
Since taking office in 2019, Viard’s shows have been subtle and understated by comparison. Her designs have been a hit with consumers, with an average price increase of 71% in three years on handbags reflecting a confident mood at Chanel. This light show — complete with fun touches like mini chain flasks and double-C logo boots and galoshes — brought Viard closer to Lagerfeld-era showmanship.
The war in Ukraine continued to reshape alliances within the fashion industry when it emerged that a Russian designer had been dropped from the Paris Fashion Week programme, while high street retailer Uniqlo announced its intention to keep all 50 stores in Russia open.
Valentin Yudashkin’s digital show has been removed from the official Paris Fashion Week program after the designer refused to break his silence on the war. In 2008, Yudashkin, who rose to prominence in the 1980s by dressing Raisa Gorbachev, designed new uniforms for the Russian army, although Ralph Toledano, the president of the Federation of Haute Couture and Fashion said it was not a deciding factor in the decision.
“We have nothing against the Russian people, but we will not support or agree to have in our calendar those who support their [Putin’s] position,” Toledano told Women’s Wear Daily, describing Yudashkin as “an affiliate of the regime.”
Faced with an exodus of fashion brands from Russia, Uniqlo bucked the trend by announcing its intention to continue marketing in the country. Tadashi Yanai, CEO of Fast Retailing in Japan, Uniqlo’s parent company, said: “Clothing is a necessity of life. The Russian people have the same right to life as we do. Yanai said he was opposed to war, but that business decisions should not be driven by political considerations. The move goes against a wave of fashion companies, including Fast Retailing’s Spanish competitor Inditex, which has left Russia in recent days.