The Fall-Winter 2016/2017 Couture collections were recently shown in Paris with members of the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture showcasing designs of staggering beauty and craftsmanship. The designers behind the houses that make up this vaunted organization craft these amazing collections twice a year and are lauded for spectacular creations that highlight the artistry of fashion and design. However, these intricate pieces are brought to life by a select group of skilled artisans who populate the house’s ateliers and without whose talents these dream garments wouldn’t be possible. For the CHANEL Fall-Winter 2016/2017 Haute Couture presentation, Monsieur Lagerfeld created a collection that was both a celebration of these talented petites mains and their unbelievable skill and all that is wondrous about the world of CHANEL. With the Grand Palais being transformed in to a meticulous recreation of the ateliers of the rue Cambon, attendees were treated to a glimpse into this rarified world of design. From bolts of fabric and mannequins to tables and toiles, the runway was a delightful representation of the ateliers in which some of the most incredible garments are created. The head artisans, know as premières, were joined by their seconds and the 78 seamstresses that makeup the House of CHANEL in this tableaux. Commenting on this captivating setting, Lagerfeld was quoted as saying “I thought that was a modern idea to make them participate. They should be shown too.” And how right Monsieur Lagerfeld is in this statement. It is because of these extremely talented individuals that the collections come to life.
This season, Monsieur Lagerfeld showed a collection that was sleek and yet achingly elegant. Seemingly simple lines belied intricately constructed pieces that featured handcrafted finishings like delicate embroidery and beading. Pleating was elevated to an art-form with multiple looks featuring various styles of this technique resulting in some truly spectacular designs. The fabrication of the collection featured the house’s signature tweed as well as embroidered laces, almost transparent grosgrains, taffetas, chiffons, silk tulle, and other decidedly luxe materials. As for the color palette, it was an homage to the CHANEL legacy of of rich blacks, beiges, greys, and white as well as pinks, browns, and a rich orange. The evening looks were particular standouts and were inspired by the English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley, whose black ink drawings contributed significantly to the Art Nouveau movement. Dresses flared out almost as if drawn by Beardsley’s pen and were adorned with hand-beading and embroidered finishings. As for the bride, always a highlight of the CHANEL haute couture collections, she was imagined in a bustier and trousers done in lace, tulle, and satin and worn with a jacket and train dramatically embroidered with feathers.
With this spectacular haute couture collection my love of the legendary House of CHANEL only continues to flourish. Monsieur Lagerfeld brilliantly intertwines the legacy of Mademoiselle Chanel with his own vision for the house all the while marrying fashion, art, history, and even technology. Aided by the virtuosity of the petites mains, this marriage of heritage and modernity is beautifully brought to life with each new collection.
I’m thrilled to share that I’ll also be sharing incredible detail photos of this spectacular collection on Friday that you won’t want to miss!
Photos via CHANEL