The se­cret life of the Chanel stu­dios

Malta Independent - - LIFESTYLE ON SATURDAY -

It hap­pened in an haute cou­ture ate­lier sort of set­ting, and Karl Lager­feld’s fall-win­ter 2016-2017 col­lec­tion was a true tribute to Chanel. It was a time­lessly el­e­gant col­lec­tion that bought to­gether the house’s rich cou­ture her­itage and put Chanel‘s seam­stresses front and cen­tre on-set, at Paris’ Grand Palais. The mes­sage of this minu­tious recre­ation of Chanel’s fa­mous rue Cambon ate­liers was clear — haute cou­ture was time­less. With­out the vir­tu­os­ity of its pe­tites mains work­ing in the se­crecy of the ate­liers, Haute Cou­ture wouldn’t have its unique and in­com­pa­ra­ble bril­liance. At Chanel their ex­per­tise is de­ployed in two

tailleur ate­liers and two flou ate­liers [tailor­ing and dress­mak­ing]. Karl Lager­feld wished to pay them tribute by ded­i­cat­ing to them the Au­tumn-Win­ter 2016/17 Chanel Haute Cou­ture col­lec­tion pre­sented on 5th July. So, be­neath the glass roof of the Grand Palais, the ate­liers on the rue Cambon have been recre­ated down to the small­est de­tail. Ta­bles, sewing ma­chines, mir­rors, pins, fab­rics, multi-coloured threads, toiles and man­nequins: the in­ner world of seam­stresses is put un­der the spot­light and an­i­mated be­fore the au­di­ence by the pre­mières of the ate­liers, fol­lowed by their sec­onds and the 78 seam­stresses from the House of Chanel which counts more than 120. “I thought that was a mod­ern idea to make them par­tic­i­pate. They should be shown too,” Karl com­mented.

This sea­son the cut is de­fined by a sleek, pure sil­hou­ette. It forms the thread run­ning through a struc­tured and graphic col­lec­tion. Bevelled or an­gu­lar cut shoul­ders, held with stitches cre­ate a “stand­ing up” ef­fect, fram­ing a flat pro­file with­out any pad­ding. The 3/4 length sleeves an­swer the 7/8 turn-up hems of the cu­lottes and wide-cut trousers worn over draped leather thigh boots. The tweed jack­ets high­light the waist with pro­trud­ing pock­ets on the hips. Coat dresses and jacket dresses in tweed form games of trompe-l’oeil. An ethe­real hair­style tied back with a gros­grain head­band fur­ther en­hances and blurs these strict and geo­met­ric shapes.

The same re­fine­ment is re­flected in the treat­ment of colour. Au­tum­nal shades – browns, mar­ron glacé, or­anges, beige and greys – are nu­anced and en­riched with a pal­ette of pinks, blacks and whites as block colours or wo­ven in duos.

The ex­act­ing per­fec­tion of Haute Cou­ture is re­flected in the minute de­tails some­times barely vis­i­ble. Thus lin­ings of pro­trud­ing pock­ets are re­worked, stitch­ing is spun with fringed spi­rals and braids are plaited with tulle and tweed. The em­broi­dery of stones, matt se­quins, beads and feath­ers are com­bined and mul­ti­plied end­lessly to cre­ate en­chant­ing flow­ers and com­pose neck straps.

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