While many designers are now choosing to operate outside the established show calendar, Chanel maintained a tradition this year, presenting its Metiers d’Art collection in December, as it has since 2002.
Decades after Gabrielle Chanel herself collaborated with Raymond Massaro to create the classic two tone pump and Robert Goosens for her signature costume jewelry, what started with the house’s acquisition of the parurier Desrues in 1985 has grown into a stable of nearly 40 maisons d’art, including both Massaro and Goosens. Chanel has maintained these maisons d’art in order to protect, sustain and develop these enterprises, and will be moving eleven of the maisons into a newly dedicated site, Le 19M, in 2021.
Always shown at a destination, and themed accordingly, this year Creative Director Virginie Viard chose the Renaissance castle Le Château des Chenonceau, located two hours outside Paris.
“Showing at the Château de Chenonceau, at the “Château des Dames”, was an obvious choice,” Viard said in a statement. “It was designed and lived in by women, including Diane de Poitiers and Catherine de’ Medici. It is a castle on a human scale. And Catherine de’ Medici’s emblem was a monogram composed of two intertwined Cs, just like that of Chanel.”
In 1936, Gabrielle Chanel wrote, “I have always been struck by a strange feeling of sympathy and admiration towards the women who lived from François I er to Louis XIII, perhaps because I find them all to be great, with a magnificent simplicity and a majesty imbued with onerous duties.”
The collection was shown to an audience of one, as house muse Kristen Stewart looked on, nestled in an archway.
Jeurgen Teller photographed the Chateau ahead of the show, capturing the mirror logo between Chanel and Catherine de’ Medici, as well as the empty ballroom where the show took place. The black and white checkered floor’s motif appeared on sequined mini skirts that couldn’t help but bring Beth Harmon to mind. Leggings were worn under most looks, almost presenting the collection as the perfect transition from quarantine dressing—and possibly a hopeful look to the months ahead.
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