Chanel’s Fall 2017 Haute Couture Collection is a Love Letter to Paris
This tunic and skirt outfit has 140,000 elements, from paillettes to strass beads to stones. It took the embroiderers at the Montex atelier 2,100 hours to create.
It would have been inspiring enough just to watch a live broadcast of the Chanel Fall 2017 Haute Couture show from the Grand Palais in Paris. It was thrilling to actually be there, seated under the 38-metre replica of the Eiffel Tower, but it was off the fashion Richter scale to touch the clothes at the studio on Rue Cambon the following day. The iconic tweeds and bell-shaped silhouettes, which echoed the tower’s contours, held their own on the runway, but the delicate embroidery and plumage required a closer view.
Take, for example, the image above. This tunic and skirt outfit has 140,000 elements, from paillettes to strass beads to stones. It took the embroiderers at the Montex atelier 2,100 hours to create. The spray of rooster, ostrich and goose feathers was created at Maison Lemarié. Years ago, I visited the Lemarié studio, which has been the centre of plumassier arts since it was established in 1880 by André Lemarié’s grandmother Palmyre Coyette. It is the only métier that works with feathers for haute couture clients, including Chanel.
Nadine Dufat, the managing director of the atelier, told me that the 50+ women who work there are driven by passion and tempered by patience. I can’t speak to Karl Lagerfeld’s capacity for patience, but in his 34-year career with Chanel, his passion and prescient take on social moods and mores is unparalleled. Lagerfeld said this collection was inspired by a “revived Parisian woman.” His replica of the Eiffel Tower also reflected the French people’s love of liberty, fraternity and freedom—sentiments that are all the more relevant today as we dare to imagine a better world.