A collection as appropriate for the calendar as for the world political stage, Chanel's latest Metiers d'Art collection is a strike back at hatred
By: Soumya Jain
Posted on: December 8, 2015
Had I been writing this piece about a month back, it would have had a different outlook and tone. Maybe more critical. But in the past month, the world has become more somber, more serious.
The Paris shootings in mid-November changed the holiday mood. As America was debating heatedly about the lack of Christmas symbols on Starbucks’ red holiday cups, everyone was shockingly bought back to perspective with this terrifying massacre.
So when Chanel does its annual Metiers d’Art show – Paris in Rome – you are bound to look at it with less of a fashion angle and more of the symbolism that it holds.
Held on December 1 at the Cinecittà Studios in Rome, which has quite a significance in the European film industry, the spectators were ushered into a black and white set of Paris, with a Petite Mains cafe on one side and a metro station on the other – from which emerged dark kohled models wearing the newest Chanel creations.
While last year’s Paris-Salzburg Metiers d’Art show had an Eastern European palatial set, and the Paris-Dallas Metiers d’Art in 2013 had a rodeo background, this year, even though the venue was Rome, the set was Paris, Paris, Paris.
This diversion from established format can also be pointed out for this year’s collection. When Paris-Bombay Metiers d’Art had models wearing sparkling Indian inspired jewelry and head accessories, and Paris-Edinburgh had ruffled collars and kilt pleated skirts, Paris-Rome has a completely Parisian look. Seductive, sexy, and defying.
Any other time, this would have been disappointing. Right now, it is simply appropriate. Did Karl Lagerfeld change the mood and design of his set and styling at the last minute to suit the occasion? I don’t know. What I do know is that never has Chanel inspired me so much as it has done this time. Its love and pride for the wounded city could be seen everywhere in the show. Coco Chanel would have fought back with the same spirit the way Mr Lagerfeld has done. She would have been proud.
The Chanel Metiers d’Art Paris in Rome collection showed a colour palette of beige, cream, grey, black and navy blue with brown, ochre, oranges and cappuccino. Indeed, the mood alternated between pure noir to sepia with every next look. Tweed, mohair and curly wool, cashmere, leather, jersey, velvet, lace, silk crepe, chiffon and georgette composed the Parisian wardrobe. Shiny leather pencil skirts, cigarette trousers, flared pants and lace stockings were seen on the walkway. Dresses in tweed, cut on the knee, and midi skirts are warmed with small capes.
Pintuck dresses, ribbons flowing from the waist, center back slit skirts and patchwork flower dresses bought back the memory of a beautiful, whimsical Paris. A particular white dress with gold thread embroidery is a favorite of the LF team.
Evening attires are elegant and sensual. With lace negligees embroidered with tulle and sheath dresses in pleated velvet, the dresses are delicate. It was pure romance on the stage.
A camera reel bag indicated the cinematic inspiration behind this show. Strands of pearls on shoes reinstated the Coco Chanel feel. Big hoop earrings and puffed hairstyles intensified the French feel of the collection.
Mr Lagerfeld showed Paris the way it is – gorgeous, sensitive and incredibly resilient. The art capital of the world is standing strong.
Soumya Jain is the Chief Editor & CEO of LuxuryFacts. She is also the Co-Editor of ‘The Luxury Market in India: Maharajas to Masses’, along with Glyn Atwal, published by Palgrave Macmillan and launched in September 2012. The book is a window into the highly complex Indian luxury market. Soumya is also a visiting lecturer for luxury marketing and online journalism at leading educational institutes in India. She has been invited to speak at conferences and address industry colleagues about the Indian luxury market. Recognising her knowledge of the market, she has been quoted in the media several times, while also contributing articles on luxury in various publications.