According to the artistic director of Chanel – Virginie Viard, the Métiers d’Art collection for 2020 is anchored around Gabrielle Chanel’s apartment at 31 rue Cambon, a sacred temple for the first lady of Chanel and a creative refuge for Viard anytime she’s in need of inspiration.
“Because it’s such a welcoming space. I love the huge sofa in beige suede. Karl (Lagerfeld) liked to surround himself with deep divans too. In fact, Gabrielle’s apartment reminds me of Karl’s first apartment that I knew, where one would sit on four-poster beds disguised as sofas. So, for this Métiers d’art collection, I wanted it to revolve around Gabrielle’s apartment,” she says.
For the collection’s presentation last December at Grand Palais, models were sent down a set constructed by Viard and Sofia Coppola – a long-time friend of the house – and it captured the structure and soul of the apartment to a tee. And from this massive canvas, the tiny details emerged and literally took centrestage. Watch the Paris – 31 rue Cambon 2019/20 Métiers d’art show here.
Upon closer inspection, the painstaking works (which encompasses hundreds of hours!) of the many artisans – embroiderers, feathermakers, paruriers, pleaters, shoemakers, milliners and glovemakers – are absolutely dreamy and heart-stopping. All the gentle flutter of the feathers, the shimmer of the beads & sequins, the threadwork, and right down to the smallest embellishment seem to be alive and overflowing with artistry.
“There is a sort of simplicity in going back to Chanel’s ABC. We don’t need to do too much,” confides Virginie Viard, “I didn’t want the usual long-distance travelling of the Métiers d’art collections, I wanted to stay in Paris. So, we had to think of a new way of doing things. And then there are the codes invented by Gabrielle Chanel and made sublime by Karl Lagerfeld, which I like mixing up too. I like the idea of a patchwork. For me, it has to be on the same level as in real life. I always question the context, which has nothing to do with the way we lived decades ago: what would a woman like today? How would she wear it?”
(All images: Chanel)
This story first appeared in Prestige Malaysia.