For the CHANEL MÉTIERS D’ART 2020/21 collection, the House’s creative director Virginie Viard looked to one of France’s most storied châteaux for inspiration and to serve as a backdrop for the unveiling of the collection. “Showing at the Château de Chenonceau, at the “Château des Dames”, was an obvious choice. It was designed and lived in by women, including Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici. It is a castle on a human scale. And Catherine de’ Medici’s emblem was a monogram composed of two intertwined Cs, just like that of Chanel,” confides Viard. While diametrically opposed in almost all facets of life, Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici did share a love of two things; the French King Henri II, and a penchant for wearing black. And one cannot help but think of another famous French woman who was also known to adore the power of an elegant black garment. In 1936, Gabrielle Chanel wrote an article citing her admiration of the women of the Renaissance. Thus, this marriage of the House of CHANEL and the Château de Chenonceau is one almost destined to be.
The CHANEL MÉTIERS D’ART 2020/21 collection features a colour palette ranging from classic CHANEL colours like black, beige, and gold to a delicate petal pink and bold russet orange and cobalt blue. Sumptuous tweeds and velvets are the perfect foil to elegant lace and gossamer chiffon that regally bellow as the garments move. A black and white checkered motif can be found throughout the collection and is a whimsical nod to one of Chenonceau’s most noted architectural elements, the black and white tiles of the grand gallery. Built directly over the River Cher (where Diane de Poitiers purportedly enjoyed bathing nude in its cold water in the belief that it helped preserve her legendary beauty), it is arguably one of the most striking features of this jewel box of a chateau that was constructed during the French Renaissance.
A CHANEL MÉTIERS D’ART collection is always incredibly special. They are intended to highlight the incredibly specialized work of the CHANEL partner ateliers. The artisans that make up these ateliers are masters of their crafts. Their staggering skill represents the elevation of pleating, embroidery, feather, shoe, glove, hat, and jewelry making to an art form. CHANEL has long recognized the importance of preserving and protecting these traditional methods of production. With each MÉTIERS D’ART collection, CHANEL only continues to reaffirm that reverence for these ateliers and their uniquely specialized skills. The 2020/21 collection is no different. More akin to demi-couture, the garments are hand-embroidered by the artisans of Lesage, punctuated by studs made by Lemarié, adorned by embroidered strass by the Atelier Montex, and accompanied by shoes handmade by Massaro and hats by Maison Michel. As with her previous collections for CHANEL, Viard expertly balances the duality of the feminine and the masculine, the regal and the rock and roll, and the elegance and the effortlessness that has come to define her tenure as creative director.