The House of Desrues found rich inspiration in Gabrielle Chanel’s taste for precious objects and costume jewellery, spelling out her name in some of their designs for the Métiers d’art collection. In their ateliers, they forged collars and earrings from hammered metal, setting them with pearly cabochons and bright lapis lazuli. Other precious styles feature fantastical renderings of sacred animals from the antiquities, like scarab beetles and serpents, accumulating in a collection of intricate and ornate cuffs, brooches, medallions and earrings.
© Jeff Spicer
© Anne Combaz
New York City. Where memory and dreams fuse in unique alchemy, inspiring both Gabrielle Chanel’s original trailblazing vision and Karl Lagerfeld’s vibrant genius today. A longtime cherished natural home for CHANEL’s celebration of both the historic artisan traditions and futuristic sensual freedom at the heart of the brand.
My own Manhattan journeys are always emotional — the city of my twenties and the making of my modern chosen family. Now an outsider tourist in my old home town, I relish the chance to revisit and rediscover its secrets.
Snaking uptown, moonstruck, towards the Metropolitan, the city’s spirit shifts. A glittery chill fused with adrenaline and promise as the brightest stars collide on the fabled steps of the museum.
Friends drift closer in the half-light, but a hush descends as if all entranced by ancient spells as the international crowd tiptoe through the frescoed Egyptian rooms towards the Great Hall of the Temple of Dendur, built in 15 BC under Augustus Caesar, and proudly shown off at The Met for the last fifty years, its power amplified by the Sackler wing’s vast glass wall reflecting Central Park beyond. Nature thus becomes another character in a multi-layered show, the city itself eavesdropping on the drama within, each look echoed and reflected in distant shadowy silhouette.
The Temple, originally dedicated to the Goddess Isis, serves as dramatic stage to CHANEL’s Métiers d’art show, the sixteenth in an annual midwinter celebration of heritage craftsmanship, from embroiderers and goldsmiths to shoe-makers, thriving in collaboration with the House of CHANEL. The set epitomised the fusion of modern and ancient, streamlined urban design housing a legacy of worship and wonder.
Paris-New York; the classic codes of CHANEL intersect with Isis’ maze of hieroglyphic solar and animal signs, all highlighted in molten gold. Graphic knitwear and skater double denim followed striped-sand goddess gowns with dramatic collars and cuffs in Bond girl metallics. Lucia Pica, CHANEL's Global Creative Make up and Color Designer, exaggerated the otherworldly beauty of Adesuwa, Kaia Gerber and Lagerfeld’s new model army with a cat scratch arc of eyeliner in white or navy, mirrored in glinting costume jewellery.
The pursuit of eternal life was an obsession of the ancient Egyptians. Karl Lagerfeld’s modern warrior sirens prowled the Met, channeling the ancient spirits but with eyes fixed firmly on the future, just as Gabrielle Chanel determinedly set sail for America in 1931, beginning a mutual and never-ending love affair with Manhattan, as evoked by Scott Fitzgerald ‘in its first wild promise of all the mystery and the beauty in the world’ in The Great Gatsby’s American dreamworld.
With studio director Virginie Viard by his side, Lagerfeld commands The Met, a reverence for the past combined with audacity and artistry — a modern dance in celebration of the timeless Métiers d’art. Heat and dust — a blaze of golden glory. To be continued into the park and long into the New York night.
The playful hand of the Parisian embroiderer Montex is evident in the colourful, graphic motifs and trims adorning some of Karl Lagerfeld's dresses in the Paris-New York Métiers d'art collection. A crystal rendition of skyscrapers, icons of the New York City skyline, animates the sleeves, collars and hems of a handful of dresses. Elsewhere, there’s a long gown canvassed entirely with an artful combination of beads, plaited Scoubidous and hand-painted, twisted and pierced pieces of leather.
A combination of pleated black tulle and organza add movement to the silhouettes featured in the Paris-New York Métiers d'art collection. The delicate accordion pleats, set just 5mm apart, were moulded in the Parisian atelier of Lognon and added to the skirts of several dresses, while swathes of layered pleats festoon the sleeves of another.
Working with Karl Lagerfeld's illustrations, the skilled bootmakers at Massaro fashioned four new styles for the Paris-New York Métiers d'art collection: a flat, closed-toe, gold leather sandal exudes elegant simplicity while black and two-tone gold pumps are much more ornate; their heels bejewelled by fellow Métiers d'art Maisons, Goossens and Desrues. The Massaro craftsmen also made two-tone gold boots with black patent leather toes, and over-the-knee leather boots cast in solid gold or a metallic graffiti with New York and ancient Egyptian-inspired motifs.
A rich, mineral palette informs the vibrant hues used by the embroidery House Lesage. Metallic and multi-coloured bugle beads fan out across garments like sunbeams, while patterns mirroring the palms of a papyrus leaf were hand-appliqued using a mix of glass beads and decorative metallic thread. Sumptuous adornments that feature a mix of embroidery and stones from Goossens appear as trims and ornaments on straps, bodices, breastplates and shoulders. Hand-loomed, custom tweeds brim with vivid blue and earthen-toned thread interwoven with hand-painted gold ribbon.
Gabrielle Chanel's original jeweller, the Maison of Goossens, has contributed to a CHANEL collection with handcrafted buttons and bold belt buckles. The buttons, cast in resin in lapis lazuli blue, are in the form of scarab beetles; their gold backing engraved with Egyptian hieroglyphics. Goossens also brought their precious, decorative touch to Massaro's shoes and boots, inlaying each heel with coral and turquoise enamel motifs.
In the weeks leading up to Paris-New York Métiers d'art show, ten artisans from the Parisian plumassier Lemarié worked in tandem, hand-applying rows of feathers to Karl Lagerfeld's creations. Following an age-old technique, they hand-painted feathers in a palette of navy, turquoise, red and gold, before carefully cutting and then assembling them in geometric reliefs. The signature CHANEL camellia was carefully crafted in the same vibrant tones, along with the House's signature monochromatic hues.