For more than a decade Chanel’s Métiers d’Art presentation has its special place in the world of fashion. Since its debut in 2002 the show became one of the most awaited fashion events of the year.
As a prelude to the bi-annual haute couture and ready-to-wear collections, Métiers d’Art is staged to show off the exclusive mastery of Chanel’s key supplier-ateliers.
It is a way of turning our attention to an important market, of offering to our clients there, and often also offering the public, the opportunity to experience the brand in a new way. Bruno Pavlovsky (Chanel’s president of fashion)
11 supplier-ateliers that are currently under the Paraffection umbrella have a long lasting history with the house of Chanel. Some are even dating back to Mademoiselle Coco herself. In 1965, George Desrues, a fine jewellery maker, created his first range of buttons for Gabrielle Chanel. Since then Desrues atelier supplies finely crafted buttons and jewellery pieces for the House. Feather and flower maker brand Lemarié’s first involvement with Chanel was for an order of 16-petal camellia. Even until today Lemarié continues to supply the widely recognized floral symbol for the House.
Among other artisan suppliers are the shoemaking atelier Massaro, the couture embroiders Lesage and Montex, the jewellery house of Goossens, Maison Michel, corsage and floral decoration maker Guillet, the glove making atelier Causse, cashemere producer Barrie Knitwear and the pleat making house of Lognon.
Due to increasing innovative technologies in the fashion industry, many of these ateliers, famous for their exclusive handmade crafting techniques, found it hard to compete in nowadays market of sophisticated machines.
To preserve and promote rarefied skills and techniques of the French artisan, in 1997 Paraffection, Chanel’s subsidiary company, was created.
Though preservation is important for ateliers, it is also a valuable investment for the House itself. While mass produced pieces flood the market, one of a kind handmade crafts are seen as luxury items. The image of Chanel as one of the most luxurious brands in the world is highly supported by the fine craftsmanship of its suppliers. It is hard to imagine the haute couture collections of Chanel without the luxury buttons and exclusive jewellery, handmade embroidery, shoes or bags.
Haute couture is a niche market, but it is a dynamic market. Bruno Pavlovsky (Chanel’s president of fashion)
The loss of the ateliers and their know-how would have negatively impacted not only the economic welfare of Chanel, but also of other world famous brands, like Givenchy, Louis Vuitton and Valentino, who cooperate with these ateliers.
The idea of the Métiers d’Art collection was another way to speak of significance of these ateliers. From Dallas to Dubai, the show travels all over the world. The venues are chosen based on places that represent a strong bind to Gabriel Chanel’s life and inspiration.
On the 2nd of December the new edition of the show will be hosted in Salzburg, Austria. The story says that Mademoiselle Chanel created her well-known little black jacket in the Fifties, inspired by a jacket of a lift attendant in a hotel near Salzburg.
The event will take place at Schloss Leopoldskron Castle, one of the most famous rococo buildings in Austria. The ever-lasting imagination of Chanel’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld is revealed not only in his designs but also in the staging of the fashion shows. This means something spectacular is to be expected on the 2nd of December.
This year, the date of the Métiers d’Art show coincided with another big fashion event, Victoria’s Secret show which is debuting in London. Despite of all recent discussions and guesses in the media about who of the celebrities will attend which event, let’s just enjoy these spectacular shows and admire the mind blowing collections of both brands.