Ever since Chanel brought a number of artistic crafts initially headed towards extinction back into the mainstream, its couture runways have been all the more spectacular for it. With the purchasing of Desrue, which preceded that of feather maker Lemarié, then hatter Michel, the embroiderer Lesage, shoemaker Massaro, silversmith Goossens and glovemaker Causse, Chanel can boast that they possess (and protect) the crown jewels of French artisanship. Within their workshops, these couturiers are busy at work cutting, tailoring, embroidering, and ironing, bringing the world pieces as ingenious as they are marvelous. In the utmost secrecy, these working hands pour all their talent into Chanel’s creativity. Today, Karl Lagerfeld has decided to lift the curtain on these backstage processes at Chanel.
While the models went down the runway under the watchful eye of those installed at the center of a crafty set-up, the workshops were recreated almost identically. In the middle of the catwalk, the couturiers were busy cutting, tailoring, and embroidering just like in real life. For the brand’s creative director, this was the occasion to give Haute Couture its original meaning back: “People talk about couture like they talk about luxury. No, it’s real work, and many people work in this industry. It’s a very precious work that few people possess the talent for.” That’s how he put it.
With its myriad of talents, Chanel is able to offer a particularly desirable look: these working hands have now created a structured and graphic hourglass coat dress. With its beveled shoulder pads, the piece is kept in place by an unseen system that creates rigidity all while engendering a masterful volume. But its a tie-dye effect that really comes to the forefront, created with blue and silver embroideries and a clear nod to the talent of these artisans. Iridescent, the piece is lined with a couture aura upon contact with a number of complex stitches and fringed spirals. Soft shades, a perfect volume and a fleecy aspect turn this look worn by Leona “Binx” Walton into an ode to exceptional savoir-faire by Chanel.