Lagerfeld is Golden A Look at Chanel’s Metiers D’Art

December 16, 2018 8:00 PM

Start with the exceptional savoir-faire of the French metiers d’art, sprinkle generously with ancient Egypt, add a dash of New York City 80s streetwear, and wrap it up in an iconic boxy Coco Chanel blazer, and what do you have? A Lagerfeld extravaganza showcasing the Chanel 2018-2019 Metiers D’Art collection, an annual exhibit that pays homage to the 26 artisanal houses of specialization that operate independently under the Chanel umbrella. But it wasn’t just an homage, it was a SHOW.

The metiers d’art show isn’t scheduled as part of the traditional fashion calendar, so for the past 16 years, it has become the most creative of spectacles. It takes place in cities of Lagerfeld’s choosing that have inspired the look of the collection, from Monte Carlo and Moscow, to Salzburg and Tokyo. And this December, it was New York, the scrappy, innovative, divergent metropolis which has served as muse for both Coco Chanel herself (in the 1930s and 50s), and Karl Lagerfeld (during the 80s, 90s and 00s and now).

To stage the Ancient Egypt meets 80s New York show, Lagerfeld took over the Temple of Dendur at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, an actual ancient Egyptian temple that was excavated by archaeologists in the middle of the 20th Century, and gifted by the Egyptian government to the United States in the 1960s. And as spectacular as the Temple of Dendur may be, it did not overshadow the clothing in the foreground. Think gold, dazzling gold. Beads, threads, knits, embroidery, sequins. Think Pharrell Williams, lithe and resplendent like a young King Tut in black eyeliner, a gold jumper with ornate neck ornamentation, and gold pants. He pulled it off like a noble, but there aren’t too many dudes out there with the moxie to duplicate that look. Most of the collection was for women anyway.

Imagine you had the most talented artisans at your disposal, and limitless use of the materials of your choosing. What would you create with infinite skill and components? Daunting for any mere mortal. But Lagerfeld has faced this remonstrance for three decades now at the helm of Chanel. He is fearless, and so are the clothes. Picture Kaia Gerber in a denim pant suit with bleached decor and a plush collar worn with gold boots and a white Chanel graffiti sweater. Or how about a lush twill suit woven with gold threads atop a white muslin dress, worn with gold shoes and a gold mod pillbox hat? A textured moto jacket with winged shoulders worn atop white leather slacks and a gold blouse. A black suit with golden threadding worn with knee-high gold boots and a gold pillbox. A short-sleeved shimmering onyx suit with a fitted waist, covered with graffiti-style Chanel logos in gold and worn with knee-boots in the same print.

It was head-to-toe splendor, one look after another, from the garments to the handbags to the jewelry. It was everything that a brilliant imagination could conceive of with the limitless skill of the Chanel metiers d’art and the army of couturiers marching under Lagerfeld’s orders. And the front row was packed with a bevy of beauties from the world of film: Julianne Moore, Blake Lively, Marion Cotillard, Penelope Cruz and Margot Robbie. It reminded us of everything we love about the ancient art of dressing up, and the modern world of fashion (which was essentially invented by Coco Chanel). It was the exclamation point on the end of the 2018 fashion calendar. We’re done. We got everything we could dream of. We’ll see you in 2019. Merci, Monsieur Lagerfeld. Des bisous.  

 

 

WRITTEN BY KAREN FRAGALA-SMITH

PHOTO CREDIT: CHANEL

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