Since their introduction in 2002, CHANEL Métier d’arts collections have been a way to honour and celebrate the incredible partner ateliers that create the specialized finishings and materials for the House of CHANEL. The CHANEL Métiers d’art 2021/2022 collection is undoubtedly Creative Director Virginie Viard’s love letter to the amazing skill and talent of the artisans who make up these specialized ateliers. Held at le19M, the home and workspace for 11 Maisons d’art that CHANEL has created to preserve and nurture these specialized art forms, there couldn’t have been a better location for a collection that is a true celebration of these ateliers. Much like the late Karl Lagerfeld’s nod to the petites mains, the artisans behind the fantastical couture collections, for his Fall/Winter 2016/2017 collection and show, Viard went right to the source for a collection that highlights the incredible work done behind the scenes to make these amazing collections come to life.
On the subject of the collection, Viard notes it is “very metropolitan yet sophisticated, with tweed jackets with sweatshirt sleeves, graffiti-style embroidery in coloured beads by Lesage, voluminous purple or royal blue knit Bermuda short-outfits, and casual coats worn open. Many of the embroideries are inspired by the structure of the building itself, such as those by Montex, which are very graphic and and in silver sequins.” As with the collections that have made up her previous three years as Creative Director of CHANEL, the CHANEL Métiers d’art 2021/2022 is a masterful mix of honouring the House’s legacy and heritage codes with a continuously fresh interpretation of those very symbols and styles. However, where this collection truly shines is its utilization of the incredible talents of CHANEL’s artisan partners. Perhaps owning to Viard’s starting her career with CHANEL in charge of embroidery and working closely with Lesage and her later position of as coordinator of haute couture for the house, she has a clear appreciation for the incorporation of these fine finishings, materials, and adornments. Intricate beading and embroidery, sumptuous knitwear, beautifully worked bijoux, delicate feathers, and pleating are elevated to such staggering heights by the incredible artisans who are behind their creation. On the subject of pleating, Look 53 features a pretty little black mini skirt that features an oversized version of the iconic CHANEL interlocking Cs wrought in pearls. Upon closer inspection, one can only begin to fathom the technical skill and mastery that the artisans from Lognon employed in creating this seemingly simple garment. The pearl beads sit perfectly on the delicate material and tight pleats that give such life and movement to the skirt. As for the aforementioned knitwear, this collection abounds with incredible pieces. From the sleek to the chunky, I would happily wager that the cardigans in particular will be wildly popular and heavily requested in the boutiques. I may or may not have already messaged my SA for the elegant black cardigan with the most incredible oversized jewelled buttons from Look 52. Honestly, I could continue waxing poetically about my love for so many of the looks from this collection. From the show stealing long coats from Looks 31 and 58 to the incredible sheer panelled gown featuring tiered ruffles that is Look 57, this whole collection is a major coup de coeur.
Accessories were another standout of this very special collection. The beloved two-toned sling-backs first introduced by Mademoiselle Chanel have been reinterpreted as elegant Mary-Janes. Bijoux also drew deeply from the CHANEL archives and from Mademoiselle Chanel. Jewel incrusted cuffs were worn as matched pairs. Ropes of pearls and gilt chain were adorned with Byzantine crosses, lions, and other CHANEL symbols were mixed and matched as belts, necklaces, earrings, pins, and even buttons. Bags beg for a detailed look, done in a mix of fabrications there are classic styles being shown along with new shapes.
A word to the wise for any of my fellow CHANEL lovers, shoot your favourite SA a text ASAP with your inquiries and wish-list because the CHANEL Métiers d’art 2021/2022 collection is sure to be hugely popular as soon as it hits boutiques. It will undoubtedly be as much a commercial success as it was a critical success following the show. Brava Mme. Viard!