Put­tin’ On The Ritz

CHANEL and KARL LAGER­FELD con­jure 1920s CAFÉ SO­CI­ETY for the Métiers d’Art show at the RITZ PARIS


Chanel re­cently de­clared 2017 the year of Gabrielle Chanel.

It’s fit­ting, then, that its 2016/17 Métiers d’Art col­lec­tion, pre­sented at the newly ren­o­vated Ritz Paris last De­cem­ber, was filled with ref­er­ences to the house’s iconic founder. In­deed, from the pre-show evening wel­come party the night be­fore to the run­way pre­sen­ta­tion it­self, it felt as though one were walk­ing in Gabrielle’s foot­steps. A bit of back story: the Ritz held great sig­nif­i­cance for Chanel; the palace ho­tel, founded by César Ritz in 1898, was like her se­cond home and she took up res­i­dence there in the 1920s. Although she kept apart­ments at 29, rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré and most fa­mously at 31 Rue Cam­bon, Chanel of­ten slept at the Ritz for con­ve­nience’s sake. The ul­tra-glam­orous ho­tel be­came a hub for so­cialites and artists, a crowd that was known as café so­ci­ety. Karl Lager­feld chan­nelled the fab­u­lous, well-heeled crowd that fre­quented the Ritz dur­ing Gabrielle’s hey­day with his Paris Cos­mopo­lite show. Lager­feld en­listed as mod­ern cos­mopoli­tans a vi­brant cast of celebri­ties, mod­els and Chanel am­bas­sadors, in­clud­ing Lily-Rose Depp, Cara Delev­ingne, Alice Del­lal, Ellie Bam­ber, Ge­or­gia May Jag­ger and Phar­rell Wil­liams, among oth­ers (a vir­tual who’s who of “It girls” in­cluded). As guests fin­ished tea and dessert, the cos­mopoli­tans, adorned with veils and rose crowns on their heads, sashayed past the ta­bles, straight through the din­ing rooms of the ho­tel, smil­ing and wink­ing along the way. Lager­feld’s col­lec­tion was in­spired by “the evening dresses that women used to wear to dine at the

Ritz” with waist-defin­ing sil­hou­ettes and calf-length flared skirts. A pal­ette of cream, white, navy blue, and black was em­bel­lished with hits of gold and red, in­tri­cate em­broi­deries, and marabou and os­trich feath­ers, show­cas­ing the tal­ents of the pe­tites mains who work in the Chanel Métiers d’Art ate­liers. The clas­sic Chanel tweed jacket was re­worked with braided trims of pearls and tweed roses, while the suits were given a mod­ern spin with straight-cut skirts and capri pants. French danc­ing duo Les Twins, planted among the guests and decked out in tail­coats, twirled and dipped the mod­els as they glided along the café run­way in a whirl­wind of tulle and feath­ers. All in all, this whim­si­cal fash­ion fan­tasy pro­vided a wel­come in­jec­tion of joy­ful mer­ri­ment, and just at the right time.

Lager­feld pho­tographed his mod­els/muses just be­fore the show.

The op­u­lent din­ing rooms of the Ritz Paris acted as the run­way for the show, as mod­els glided around guests through­out the ho­tel’s first floor.

Here is the place set­ting at one of the chic din­ing ta­bles in­side the brasserie Le Bar Vendôme.

Gabrielle Chanel in her suite at the Ritz Paris in 1937. She dec­o­rated her suite with own fur­nish­ings, such as the famed Coro­man­del lac­quered screens from China, a beige suede sofa, crys­tal lamps and ver­meil boxes.

Celebri­ties such as Wil­low and Jada Pin­kett Smith and Chanel am­bas­sadors Gas­pard Ul­liel and Caroline Mai­gret took in the show.

Mod­els wore var­i­ous it­er­a­tions of the Chanel Gabrielle bag, in metal­lic leather or tweed. The em­broi­dery on some of them echoed the up­hol­stery of the Ritz Paris.

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