Chanel offers a glitzy homecoming for its pre-fall 2017 Métiers d’art collection in honour of founder Coco Chanel. Justine Lee relives the show and parties in Paris
Chanel offers a glitzy homecoming for its pre-fall 2017 Métiers d’art collection in honour of founder Coco Chanel
rom Shanghai to Salzburg to last year’s Havana affair, Chanel’s Métiers d’art shows have taken place outside the fashion schedule, at the world’s most exotic locations, to pay tribute to the artisanal workshops that the house works with to create its couture. This year, Chanel brought celebrations closer to home—the Hotel Ritz Paris, to be exact. The property, which opened its doors in 1898, has been home to many creative greats, including Marcel Proust, Ernest Hemingway, F. Scott Fitzgerald, Charlie Chaplin, and Coco Chanel herself. In fact, the designer preferred not to spend her nights at her apartment at 31 Rue Cambon, only using it to entertain guests and clients. When it came time to turn in she headed to the Ritz, where she lived for more than three decades, in a suite she decorated with her own furniture. Chanel felt so at home at the Ritz that she often used the hotel’s staff entrance on Rue Cambon, just steps away from her atelier.
The five-star hotel closed for major renovations in 2012 and, after a multimilliondollar facelift, reopened its doors in June last year, and the fashion show made skilled use of the new space, from the lobby to the bar and restaurant on the ground level. The collection, entitled “Paris Cosmopolite,” reflected the heydays of the 1950s, in which the glitz and glamour of Paris attracted world travellers and marked an era of booming business in the French capital.
Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s head designer, described the collection as filled with “evening dresses that women used to wear to dine at the Ritz.” Ultra-feminine cuts and luxurious details appeared on every look— think dresses with strong shoulders, defined waists and embroidery worthy of royalty. The house’s codes were remixed and refreshed: tweed jackets were rose-embellished (forgoing Coco’s classic camellia) while quilting details were given to raw denim jeans and sheared onto fur coats. Chanel’s eternally adventurous and daring spirit also came to life with trousers boldly cut right above the knees (yes, Chanel just made cycling shorts chic), raw hems and quilting on blue denim trenchcoats, and a puffy down jacket matched with lace and tulle.
Fashion can sometimes feel distant, but there was an innately intimate feeling about the show, which appeared more like a party. Models danced their way around the tables, and Lagerfeld made a sweep of the entire floor for his finale. A personal note for a personal show, at Coco Chanel’s home.
PUTTIN’ ON THE RITZ Hairstylist Sam Mcknight makes final adjustments before model Vittoria Ceretti hits the runway