I couldn’t think of a better article to start the new year off with then one dedicated to my beloved House of CHANEL and their final collection of 2019. Since 2002, the House has shown their Métiers d’Art collection every December. These special collections highlight the incredible work of the Maison’s d’art that CHANEL partners with. The pieces that make up a CHANEL Métiers d’Art collection are a celebration of the staggering talents of these artisans. The embroiderers, feathermakers, pleaters, shoemakers, milliners, glovemakers, and paruriers have highly specialized technical skills which add such incredible artistry to the world of CHANEL. CHANEL has long valued these special creators and as such they have invested greatly in the preservation of these specialized ateliers. In the coming year, CHANEL will be furthering that commitment by inaugurating an incredible new space, LE 19M, in the 19tharrondissement of Paris. LE 19M will be home to eleven Métiers d’Art partners like the embroiderer Lesage, Montex and its decoration department Studio MTX, the shoemaker Massaro, Lemarié who specializes in feathers and flowers, the milliner Maison Michele, the pleater Lognon, goldsmith Goossens, and the grand flou atelier Paloma, as well as the Eres, the prestigious lingerie and swimwear line.
The 2019/2020 Métiers d’Art collection is not only a celebration of these very special partners but of the House of CHANEL’s history as well. Titled PARIS-31 RUE CAMBON the collection comes full circle to the very first CHANEL shows that were held at 31 rue Cambon. This special address houses the original Parisian CHANEL boutique as well as the Haute Couture Salon, creation studio, and the famous mirrored staircase where Mademoiselle Chanel would perch atop as models descended below to show her latest collections. It also houses Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment, a jewel box of a space virtually untouched by time. A space of refuge where she would retreat between fittings to receive friends and let her creativity blossom surrounded by the many totems and symbols that she held dear. These very symbols have come to be hallmarks of the House of CHANEL, frequently referenced in collections and are at the heart of Virginie Viard’s first Métier d’Arts collection. She notes that “this is [a] return to the codes and the very first Métiers d’Art show in 2002, which actually took place in the salons, at 31 rue Cambon. That show was very dear to me…” That reverence coupled with Gabrielle Chanel’s own maxim “fashion changes but style endures” is so beautifully present in this very special collection.
The Grand Palais was transformed for the show on December 4thto perfectly resemble the downright mythical Art Deco mirrored staircase at 31 rue Cambon. Eschewing the usual long-distance travel associated with prior collections, locations have ranged from Moscow, Edinburgh, Salzburg, and Rome, Viard instead wanted to stay in Paris. Mixing the history and classic codes of the House with a fresh contemporary approach, the collection is pure elegance.
There are jumpsuits made of tweed, trim little short suit jackets shown with rounded edges, and straight double-breasted coats in a fine black bouclé cashmere with chiffons ribbon belts. Referencing a pink tweed suit created by Gabrielle Chanel in 1960 with a lining which was tie-dyed in black, blue, pink, and mauve, tie-dye, the same motif can be found on pieces in the current collection like a stunning chiffon dress and on the outside of several tweed suits. Further historical references can be found throughout the collection, slender silhouettes echo Mademoiselle Chanel’s original creations that freed women from the sartorial constraints of the turn of the century. The symbols beloved by Gabrielle Chanel like camellias and sheaves of wheat, considered by her to be a symbol of prosperity, can be found throughout the collection as well. Embroidered and almost acting as sculptures, the camellia in particular covers an entire evening bomber jacket and makes for a striking symbol of the House’s heritage.
With a color palette of classic CHANEL black, white, and gold, pink is also particularly present and shown in tones of soft pink, apricot, garnet, and even a bold raspberry. This feminine touch is a perfect foil against the many menswear inspired pieces that are yet another classic hallmark of the House.
And lest we forget the incredible accessories. These sure to be collectors pieces merit their own dedicated article to all the better highlight their beauty this coming Friday!