For my final instalment of my CHANEL Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2018 coverage, I wanted to share the incredible opportunity I had when I was invited to see the collection in person. Following the runway show, re-sees are typically held at a handful of key locations around the world for media and industry professionals to view the collection again in a more intimate setting. This allows them to truly explore the collection and see the pieces up close which highlights the incredible workmanship that goes into a Haute Couture garment. During this time, the house’s Haute Couture clients are also invited to re-see the collection and have fittings for the garments they wish to commission. Not simply a big ticket purchase, clients are in a way investing in wearable art. Entirely made from hand, these pieces are exactingly tailored to each individual’s very specific measurements. Even the shoes that are shown as part of the collection can be commissioned with a custom shoe being produced to the client’s exact foot shape and size. This type of purchase and garment represent an incredibly rarified sartorial nirvana that only a small section of the fashion world has access to.
In seeing these very special garments up close, you cannot help but understand why this is so. The work that goes into creating an Haute Couture garment is staggering. Something as simple as executing a pleat or a seam is elevated to a fine art form. The perfection and incredible quality of the construction, and the materials used to craft these pieces, are almost unbelievable. Gowns encrusted in beading represent hundreds of hours of an artisan sitting, placing and securing these sparkling treasures by hand. Embroidery, an almost lost art form, is performed by hand. Even the silk and chiffon flowers seen throughout the collection are handcrafted. I’ve included many close-up photos in this post so you can see the details behind each hand placed and secured embellishment, flower, button, and jewel.
Another component of the re-see that I found fascinating was the inclusion of a handful of muslin versions of the pieces that allowed the viewer to see the creative and construction process outside of the atelier. Think of these as fashion “sketches” which serve to highlight the painstaking planning that goes into the design and construction process before these pieces are fully realized in silk, satin, and the classic CHANEL tweed.
I truly hope you enjoy these photos as much as I do!