Bridging Cultures: Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2024 Collection in Manchester

Chanel’s Pre-Fall 2024 collection in Manchester was a testament to Virginie Viard’s ability to bridge diverse influences. This third installment of Lee’s vision for Burberry is a testament to his commitment to innovation and relevance, as he draws inspiration from personal experiences and aims to capture the essence of a diverse range of people.

The runway show itself was a spectacle, set in a tent styled to resemble a medieval jousting pavilion, paying homage to Burberry’s iconic Equestrian Knight Design logotype. Models like Agyness Deyn, Lily Donaldson, Naomi Campbell, and Edie Campbell brought a sense of nostalgia to the catwalk, adding layers to Lee’s carefully crafted narrative.

Lee’s creative journey for this collection began with a reflection on the broad spectrum of individuals who wear Burberry, from royalty to street style enthusiasts. He recognized the brand’s universal appeal and sought to create pieces that would speak to both longtime admirers and new generations alike.

The immersion into Northern culture commenced with a pre-show event at a Manchester United vs. Chelsea football match, a symbolic North-South encounter. The personalized No 5 Man U red football jerseys, a nod to Chanel No. 5, added a touch of luxury to the spirited atmosphere. The resulting 2-1 victory for Manchester United set the tone for an auspicious beginning.

As Manchester is renowned for its unpredictable weather, the runway show, part of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art series, unfolded amid a typical Mancunian downpour. International guests, armed with Chanel-branded umbrellas, occupied pub-style outdoor seats along Thomas Street, a quintessential red-brick neighborhood transformed into a Chanel haven for the night.

Viard’s designs seamlessly blended Northern-girl aesthetics with a playful nod to working-class pop culture spanning the ’60s to the ’80s. Models donned side-flicked fringes and bare legs, capturing the resilient spirit of Manchester’s inhabitants known for defying the cold. The collection showcased variations of tweed suits, knee-length to A-line minis, cycle shorts paired with coats, Beatle caps, and chain belts.

Continuing Karl Lagerfeld’s tradition of highlighting craftsmanship, Viard collaborated with Chanel’s specialist couture houses. Lesage’s intricate embroidery, Goossens’ exquisite jewelry, Lemarie’s feather work, Montex’s detailed embroideries, and Barrie’s Scottish cashmere knits were masterfully incorporated into the collection. Viard’s creative expression extended to souvenir slogan-sweaters, beanies, and scarves, drawing inspiration from football terraces and club flyer graphics.

While Viard infused the collection with the unmistakable Chanel aesthetic, she remained true to the smartness standards synonymous with Manchester’s women and girls. The city’s tradition of dressing impeccably, even on modest incomes, was evident throughout the show, showcasing a harmonious blend of Parisian elegance and Manchester’s urban flair.

The show celebrated the intersection of high fashion and industrial heritage, paying homage to the city’s rich cultural tapestry and leaving an indelible mark on the fashion landscape. This collection not only demonstrates Viard’s creative prowess but also reinforces Chanel’s position as a brand that continues to evolve while staying true to its rich heritage.