Since 2002 the Parisian high-fashion house, Chanel, has held an annual Metier D’art as an event to celebrate its’ long-standing relationships with an array of European fashion houses which specialize in aspects of fashion and textiles such as embroidery and feathering. The event, as well as providing an opportunity to show off new season lines, acts as commemoration of all the places, figures and events that have inspired the brand since its’ creation by Coco Chanel in 1909.

Chanel Metier D’art

In previous years, the Metier D’art has been taken around the world to places such Seoul, Dallas, New York and London: all cities that Coco Chanel had visited and taken inspiration from, whether it be personally, professionally or creatively. This year the event was held at the beautiful and historical Cinecittà film complex on the outskirts of the culturally abundant city of Rome, Italy.

Chanel Metier D’art

The Metier D’art shows are, quite frankly, unmissable opportunities to exclusively view the latest Chanel collection being carried gracefully around intricately designed sets: this year showed no sign of being any different. Creative Director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, took this years “Paris in Rome” theme very literally. The set, although located in Rome, could be undeniably identified as a replica of Paris around the era of the brands’ creation. Every intimate detail had been thought of: the lamp posts, the signage and the ironwork fencing. Each model emerged from an imitation of a Parisian Metro entrance and walked seamlessly around the streets of the French city. The replicated streets of Paris were Chanel’s runway: a wonderfully representative metaphor of the brands’ origins.

Chanel Metier D’art

As if the set was not enough to attract eyes of the world, the pre-fall 2016 collection on show was absolutely exquisite. In-keeping with the set, the collection had strong influences from the early twentieth century. Karl Lagerfeld clearly found influence from the brands early heritage, when Coco Chanel was at the forefront of the transition from strong to weak gender differentiation in fashion. Coco, as she was nicknamed, was one of the earliest fashion designers to break free from societal norms in women’s’ fashion and design loosely fitted dresses, tailored trousers and structured blazers. These styles were abundant throughout the collection, as well as caped sleeves, floor length skirts and short dresses. The use of lace, ribbon and high necklines gave the collection a romanticist Victorian feel, whereas the hair, make up and shift cuts on certain pieces resonated more with the sixties era.

Chanel Metier D’art

Lagerfeld worked with a variety of different textiles and textures for the pre-fall 2016 collection, such as three dimensional floral embellishment, sheer chiffon and delicate lace. With some of the outfits Lagerfeld had mixed the hard with the soft, by using neutral lightweight fabrics such as white silk with dark heavyweight fabrics such as black leather. Of course, no Chanel collection would be complete without tweed, which is very heavily featured in the collection. Personally, the outfit of the collection that caught my attention was a contemporary take on the classic Chanel aesthetic: a calf-length waistcoat, shift-cut top, fitted trousers, lace-up boats and beaded necklaces. Overall, the collection remains true to the brand identity whilst having more modernistic influences that brings it up to date for the strong independent woman of the twenty-first century.

Chanel Metier D’art

As well as being heavily involved in the design and arrangement of the Metier D’art show in Rome, Lagerfeld has directed a short film featuring Kristen Stewart, “Once and Forever”, which was released on the 1st December on the Chanel website. Stewart, famed for her role in the Twilight series, was also the face of this years’ Metier D’art advertising campaign and appeared in the front row for the event.

Without hesitance, I can say that I look forward to seeing what is on the agenda for next years’ Metier D’art. Another year, another Metier.

Joanna Grimwood

Image Credit: indigital, youtube/Chanel

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