© Olivier Saillant


© Olivier Saillant


In dedicating this collection to the Haute Couture ateliers, Karl Lagerfeld wished to pay tribute to the excellence of the people working behind the scenes to create exceptional pieces. A creative laboratory boasting a precious and unique expertise, reinvented over time, Haute Couture embodies Chanel’s primary vocation.

Contrasting with the spectacular decors, guests discovered the more intimate setting of the ateliers in Rue Cambon, which were recreated under the Grand Palais’s glass roof. Tables, sewing machines, rolls of fabric, toiles, mannequins, threads, needles, mirrors: the everyday world of the House’s four ateliers was revealed.

The show opened with a reinterpretation of emblematic tweed in a suit given new proportions, resulting in a graphic silhouette: jackets with beveled or angular cut shoulders, pronounced fringed seams, flat surfaces free from padding, exaggerated waistlines, and pockets standing free from the hips are combined with culottes clad in thigh boots in draped leather. Tweed coat-dresses and jacket-dresses, sometimes intricately embroidered, deploy trompe-l’oeil effects. For the evening, the geometrical effects are softened in designs inspired by the heroines created by the English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley in the late 19th century.

The long dresses flare out or hug the body tightly, shoulders and bottoms of the dresses edged with feathers, high waists, embroidered lace, taffeta, muslin, organza, silk tulle, radzimir, georgette, fabrics that float or else hang more heavily, sometimes superimposed, conferring great delicacy on the silhouettes. The palette of colors ranges from brown, candied chestnut, beige, gray and orange, punctuated by odd touches of gold, to blacks and whites.

The bride wears pants and a lace bustier in tulle and satin, inlaid with motifs in pink and white wool, and a jacket with a train embroidered with feathers. All the models wear gros grain headbands slipped onto a tall, wispy chignon that delicately exposes and softens the neckline. Embroidery with stones, matt sequins, beads, feathers and skillful pleating add elegant touches to the collection, highlighting the ateliers’ virtuosity and the endless quest for perfection embodied by Chanel Haute Couture.

Françoise-Claire Prodhon


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