Since 2003 Chanel’s Métier d’Arts fashion shows celebrated the extraordinary artisan houses that painstakingly work on the components that go into a Chanel piece. Each of the 7 specialties drill down on a particular aspect of the final garment or accessory —embroidery, millinery, boot-making, to name a few. No detail is too small to make perfect in the Chanel universe— even feathers are assiduously crafted in a draft-free studio. It’s this kind of attention to detail and craft that is at the heart of the brand.
December 7th, 2021 marked a new beginning for the Métier d’Arts runway show which in the past was a globe-trotting event. This time it was held at the recently completed Chanel property in the 19th Arrondissement in Paris. They call this newly christened glass citadel which aggregates the specialists in one location, Le19m which served as the setting for this show. In typical Chanel fashion, the Métier d’Art is multi-layered PR event to communicate their message. Not only is there a fashion show with 59 runway looks but there were teaser animation films, released prior to the show, whimsically representing each Métier. Celebrity loyalists and muses also attended and supported.
But at the heart of this production is the show with Virginie Viard’s vision of the brand articulated in the 59 looks. She is making her mark with designs and shows that are looser and a bit insouciant than under Lagerfeld’s reign. Seems like the models are allowed their own youthful individuality. You won’t see hair beaten into uniform submission at this show although grosgrain hair-bows were worn to express femininity. Ms. Viard seems to be opening the door for women to interpret Chanel into their world instead of the other way around. Tweed jackets are longer and left unbuttoned at the bottom, touches of denim are woven into the collection with layered necklaces and chain-link belts worn on almost all the looks. A sea of black white and pink was the predominant palette. Shoes continue to be lower to the ground as women rebel from having their movement restricted but they are rising as women also love the look of a heel.
For Chanel fans and believers, the message is loud and clear. A Chanel purchase is a vote for mindful consumption and is steeped with the reverence that the French have for fashion. To buy a Chanel product is to capture a bit of that French savoir-faire. You’re buying into the legendary ateliers and their painstaking finished product whether it’s a button, or a buckle, or the emblematic camellia. The formula has worked for them throughout their storied history and has kept them in the top echelon of luxury.
Enjoy the show: