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AWithin the Grand Palais, trans­formed into the ru­ins of a the­atre with views of a fu­tur­is­tic megapo­lis, Karl Lager­feld pre­sented a col­lec­tion that was ul­tra-mod­ern, a graphic state­ment ‘be­tween yes­ter­day and tomorrow’. Here, the mak­ing of Look 61.

f ig­ment of Karl Lager­feld’s imag­i­na­tion, Look 61 first ma­te­ri­alised as a sketch, which the de­signer then passed to the head seam­stress. The sketch was in­ter­preted in the shape of a toile, with the sil­hou­ette and pro­por­tions as in­di­cated by Lager­feld. The toile was then re­pro­duced in the cho­sen fab­ric, which in the case of Look 61, was silk tulle. All this was done within the Chanel ate­liers.

At the Mon­tex ate­liers, se­quins were em­broi­dered onto the silk tulle us­ing the cen­turies-old Luneville tech­nique, which al­lowed for ex­quis­ite se­quin em­broi­dery us­ing the Luneville cro­chet hook.

Over at the Lesage ate­liers, the ar­ti­sans worked on cre­at­ing the em­broi­dery from a sam­ple val­i­dated by the stu­dio. The model was cre­ated on trac­ing pa­per, fol­low­ing the pat­tern pro­vided by the Chanel ate­liers.

In this case, PVC discs pleated in an origami style were to be sewn onto the silk tulle. The del­i­cate silk tulle was mounted onto an em­broi­dery frame and the em­broi­derer used a tech­nique called à l’aigu­ille to care­fully ap­ply the pleated PVC discs and crys­tals onto the fab­ric. The em­broi­dered piece was then sent back to the Chanel ate­liers to be as­sem­bled.

Pro­por­tions were checked on a wooden man­nequin dur­ing the as­sem­bling to en­sure that the dress ad­hered to Lager­feld’s cho­sen sil­hou­ette. The fi­nal touches were added to the look, and for Look 61, it was a sparkling braid along the edges of the out­fit.

Af­ter a to­tal of 410 hours of work in the Mon­tex ate­liers and another 400 hours in the Lesage ate­liers, the dress was fin­ished and ready for a fi­nal fit­ting. This took place in the stu­dio in Lager­feld’s pres­ence a day be­fore the show, and was then pre­sented at the Grand Palais the next day. Dra­matic de­tails are char­ac­ter­is­tic of Chanel Haute Cou­ture Karl Lager­feld back­stage

An ar­ti­san at Lesage

Fi­nal touches

The fin­ished work, Look 61

Chanel Haute Cou­ture Au­tumn/ Win­ter ’13

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