7 OCTOBER 2020 for Vogue.co.uk

For the final, fourth episode of Season Two’s Creative Conversations, the President of Fashion at Chanel shares his manifesto for the 2020s and beyond

Just as Chanel was presenting its Spring/Summer 2021 collection for Paris Fashion Week, we met with Bruno Pavlovsky, President of Fashion at Chanel, to discover his role in expanding the company’s presence in the fashion arena, first with Karl Lagerfeld and now with the late designer’s right hand, Virginie Viard. 

The executive has worked with the famous Paris company for 30 years, but his range extends far beyond the business that he handles for the Wertheimer brothers, the owners of Chanel.

Bruno Pavlosky with Suzy at the César Awards in Paris

Monsieur Pavlosky is dedicated to preserving and developing the skills of the exceptional and historic hand-workers of the Métiers d’Art who bring Chanel its exquisite artistry, from the expert embroideries of Maison Lesage to Maison Lemarié’s feathers and flowers. Chanel now supports more than 30 specialist artisan workshops that will shortly be moving to brand-new headquarters in the northeast of Paris and known as “Le 19 M”.

But the big news this season is “Gabrielle Chanel: Fashion Manifesto”. That is the name of the exhibition that marks the reopening of the Palais Galliera Museum in Paris, where Chanel has invested more than seven million euros to help fund its renovation and extension. 

This is the first retrospective in Paris on the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel, and has been curated by the museum’s Director, Miren Arzalluz; its Artistic Director and fashion historian, Olivier Saillard; and Collection Curator Véronique Belloir.

Another big announcement for Chanel is its engagement with climate initiatives. The company has issued sustainability-linked “Green Bonds”, which pledge its dedication to care for our planet. 

Pavlosky is a rare thinker who aims to do more than sell Chanel – however successful he has been at raising its annual business to 10 billion euros. He claims that, in his words, “Chanel has entered the collective unconscious.”

Bruno Pavlovsky can sell a museum exhibition as easily as one of those iconic Chanel handbags. He has taken Chanel across the world, building a devoted clientele, but has retained its Parisian spirit. From our conversation I am happy to have learned that Gabrielle Chanel’s fashion manifesto is thriving and that the Coco spirit is going strong.

This episode concludes Season Two of Creative Conversations and marks the end of Paris Fashion Week Spring/Summer 2021. I look forward to having more Creative Conversations with you very soon – I have some riveting guests lined up for Season Three. Do subscribe to suzymenkes.com; visit @suzymenkes on Instagram; and tune in here or on iTunes; Google; Spotify; Stitcherand YouTube.

In the meantime, stay tuned, stay safe, and stay stylish!