AN ODE TO PARIS: CHANEL METIERS D’ART 2016

Photo: Courtesy from Chanel

Photo: Courtesy from Chanel

It has been a year since the devastating carnage in Paris and yesterday Karl responded dramatically with an emotional ode to the immaculate City of Light: it is light which defeats darkness.

For me, the most powerful fashion “moment” of every year is the Métiers d’Art Chanel shown annually in early December, presenting its pre-fall collection. The occasion celebrates the very best of craftsmanship often welcoming us to exciting destinations such as Dallas, Edinburgh, Salzburg, and Rome simultaneously honouring local history and culture.

What made yesterday’s show so exceptional was that Chanel returned back to its roots; to the legendary Ritz hotel – where Mme. Gabrielle lived from 1937 until her death in 1971. Can you imagine the stories at the Ritz if “walls could talk?” The collection was a true home coming- a pure reduction of its heritage and values.

There was no retro feeling or a longing of the old days, which one may inaccurately prejudge when walking into the “Jardin d’Hiver” opulent and slightly nostalgic of brilliant lunches from the 1920’s. No, this was for a new generation in mind – bridging the old with the new. Literally the next generation of many greats modelled, including Lily-Rose Depp, Sistine Stallone, Sofia Richie, and Georgia May Jagger of course adding that salty twang of entitlement to the room.

Photo: Courtesy from Chanel

Photo: Courtesy from Chanel

At the end of a shocking 2016, this collection was exactly what we needed. I like what Tim Blanks said: A Pick-Me-Up Prescription. Each shimmering gown promised optimism, happiness, beauty and proved just how fashion can be an escape into a dream. Not necessarily a dream of materialistic wants but a dream of mastery and of joy. For the cynical who snares couture is a waste, especially in tough times and is only for the 1% of the 1%… they miss the whole point. Métiers d’art is a nurturing light in an increasingly dim world and if that light of warmth and dreams is extinguished… is that even a life worth living?

It has been a year since the devastating carnage in Paris and yesterday Karl responded dramatically with an emotional ode to the immaculate City of Light: it is light which defeats darkness.

There was so much heart an soul in each piece. It was painfully beautiful as these intricate details flew past seated guests, as the models danced and twirled through the salon with the Les Twin brothers. A deeper inspection is needed as each piece was a masterpiece of art – the golden feathered dress or the denim jacket re-embroidered with denim, constructed thread-by-thread into a fun fringe at the collar, sleeves and hemline. Even with the mastery of each piece, the collection was young, fresh and casual: A melange of the 40s, 50s, 70s and 80s… timeless never bound to the constraints of one generation.

Hair by Sam McKnight was bound up by net veils adorned with roses, while the make up was  light and understated. On the menu of the wardrobe was a range of flouncy midi skirts and cropped pedal pushers, bomber coats and puffed jackets, frothy gowns and clingy-cocktail dresses. The classic Chanel jacket of course was re-vamped and paired with a knitted scarf. One must really see to believe. See the whole collection here.

The whole affair was that similar of a glamorous family reunion. Friends gathered to wine and dine, catch up on the night before (The Fashion Awards) and of course upcoming Christmas plans. Models laughed as they walked and even joined the audience afterwards, underlining the intimacy and authenticity of the evening. Cara Delevingne made a special appearance along with Pharell Williams reminding us of their Sissi duet from the 2014 show. What makes Chanel and Karl so special is that they don’t just make fashion, they bring people together and prioritise the human element over the thread. Culture, history, good food, good friends, secrets and stories bring these pieces of art to life and fill our souls with joy.

Karl was on his very best form, a true St. Nicholas on December 6th treating us with a bountiful, laced, and silvery feast for the eyes and our hearts.