It’s the Karl Lagerfeld Show:
Chanel Metiers d’Art
Designer Karl Lagerfeld
Stanley Marcus greets Coco Chanel upon her arrival in Dallas, 1957
Pre-Fall 2009; Métiers d'Art 2011/2012 Paris-Bombay; Métiers d'Art 2009/2010 Paris-Shanghai
The Chanel Métiers d’Art runway show is not the spring collection nor the fall collection. It’s a once-a-year extreme production created to showcase the finest Chanel creations. And this year, Monsieur Lagerfeld chose Dallas as the location. Métiers d’Art brings together, in one stupendous collection, the historic small French workrooms that produce couture level featherwork (Lemarie), millenary (Michel), jewelry (Goosens), buttons (Desrues), fabric flowers and plants (Guillet), embroidery (Lesage) and boots (Massaro). Chanel has brought these seven houses under its corporate wing to protect them from extinction, to preserve and nurture their valuable and irreplaceable heritage and consummate creativity. For what would Chanel be without its camellias, two-tone shoes, boaters, gilded chains and rich embroidery.
Previous Métiers d’Art extravaganzas have occurred in the ruins of Linlithgow Palace in Scotland, where Mary, Queen of Scots, was born. For another Métiers, Lagerfeld et al jetted to the Far East, seating a thousand guests on a darkened pontoon boat in the Huangpu River overlooking the city of Shanghai’s impressive skyline. Even when Lagerfeld hosted Métiers d’Art in Paris, the opulence knew no bounds, Guests were seated for high tea at elaborate tables that crafted a runway, and dined opulently during the show. A small silver train with interlocking CC’s circled the tables carrying decanters of liqueur. And then there were the shows in Moscow, the gardens of Versailles and Venice. And then Karl announced that Dallas would be the next city for the Métiers.
Until November 19, no one aside from Karl’s closet confi dants knew where in Dallas the set would be erected, or what the show would be. Linlithgow Palace was tartans and ruffs; Paris-Bombay was turbans and tikkas, maharajas and churidars. And, on the appointed date of November 19, at 5:54 am central time, the word came from Paris: The venue will be the Art Deco splendor of Fair Park. And the clothes? We can only speculate, because Chanel never discusses the point of view of a show before its presentation. Could it be western? Perhaps. But it will certainly be something we have never imagined. Perhaps Lemarie feathered chaps that take days to make a single pair. Or Lesage embroidered yokes and lariats. Goosens platinum squash blossoms and elaborately jeweled bolo ties … Don’t even think about the spurs! But we’re just speculating here. The spectacular crafted clothing is the heart of the show. And how often does a city get to play a lead role in a fashion collection.
Guests will travel from around the globe, including top Chanel clients from every country; national and international fashion press (Anna! Grace! Andre! Hamish!); supermodels and Hollywood stars.
Preceding the Metiers d’Art runway extravaganza, Lagerfeld’s short film The Return, will be screened. The 30-minute lavish film shows Madame Chanel returning to fashion in 1954 after the war to a chilly and hostile French audience. Only one American journalist was civil to her. The French sniffed and left the atelier in silence. But Neiman Marcus’ Stanley Marcus championed Chanel and presented her with The Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion in 1957. Fifty-six years later, the favor has been returned.
On the eve of K-day, we are besotted, consumed. We pen Karl a note —
Dear Monsieur Lagerfeld,
We are looking forward to your visit and the spectacular show. But we are very nervous in Dallas. How can we compare to an ancient Scottish castle. We have no castles, no tartan, no pontoon boats or turbans; just chaps and boots. Can you relieve our anxiety?
Why Dallas for Métiers d’Art? The official statement is that Stanley Marcus awarded Coco Chanel in 1957 with the Neiman Marcus Award, so you wanted to return the honor to Dallas. But really, why Dallas?
KL: Because it happened in Dallas. It did a lot to re-establish her image in the U.S. And I love Dallas.
Will Choupette travel with you to Texas for the show?
KL: Yes, I hate to travel without her. She comes with her personal assistant.
If you could do a photo shoot with a historical icon, who would that be, and how would you shoot him or her?
KL: Historical icons are from another time and mostly dead. We have enough icons today.
Favorite color besides black and white? Or, are they even your favorite colors?
KL: All shades of gray with dusty pink.
What characteristics make for a great Chanel muse?
KL: Impossible to know — it’s often totally unexpected.
What are you doing once the Métiers d’Art is over?
KL: Start the Haute Couture for Chanel to be shown in January.
What will you be giving for the holidays?
KL: It depends on the person. My two godsons get money so the parents can buy what the boys want (7 and 2 years old).
What music are you listening to these days?
KL: Lorde and also M.I.A.