Métiers d’Art 2020
Photography by Olivier Saillant

A Glance Inside Chanel’s Rue Cambon Métiers d’Art 2020 Show

Coco's signatures with a dash of modern flash.

After a comedienne crashed Chanel’s Spring ’20 runway in October, the fashion house wasn’t taking any chances. Guests of last night’s Metiers d’Art 2020 show had a number of hurdles to pass to get into the Grand Palais. First, a hard ticket arrived by courier with a link and a password. A QR code was then received by email and had to be presented to guards at three separate checkpoints along with ID. It was all done with good-natured politesse – but getting into 10 Downing Street for an audience with Margaret Thatcher was easier (yes, I did that once too).

Once inside it was clear what the theme of the show would be. A garden of camellia shrubs flanked the steps to a series of rooms decorated like Mlle Chanel’s Rue Cambon apartment, which remains just as she left it when she passed away in 1971. Guests took selfies on the beige sofas and admired the gilt mirrors, coromandel screens and wheat accents – one of Coco’s talismans and good luck symbols.

Four replicas of her living room chandelier hung over the runway, and models descended from a curved cream staircase with mirrored walls, similar to the one where Mlle would preside over her own shows unfolding below.

If the ghost of Chanel were watching last night’s presentation, she must have been pleased. Artistic director Virginie Viard – in her first solo Metiers d’Art collection since the death of Karl Lagerfeld earlier this year – respectfully riffed on Coco’s signatures with a dash of modern flash, thanks to the exquisite skills of beading and feather houses Lesage and Lemarie, which Chanel owns. There were sequined and lurex jumpsuits and coats sash-tied with lavish wheat beading, ribbons and chains. A black/white jacket split down the middle nodded to Chanel’s two-tone spectator pumps. A tie-dye effect, inspired by a pink tweed suit created by Gabrielle Chanel in 1960 and lined in black, blue, pink and mauve tie-dye, gave a nice jolt to tweed suits and a chiffon dress trimmed in feathers. Miniature bags were playfully worn as jewellery. A golden cage purse references a bird cage given to Mlle by one of her seamstresses and remains in her apartment.

A gown in white duchess satin inspired by one worn by Mlle Chanel in a Cecil Beaton photo caught the eye of Yara Shahidi, who sat front row alongside fellow Chanel ambassador Charlotte Cardin of Montreal.

“I loved the show. I felt like I saw the entire timeline of the brand walk by me in a different way,” Shahidi said. “And the white silks always get me. Chanel bridal in general, even if it isn’t traditional bridal, is something I’ve been a fan of forever. I have an absurd archive on my phone of every bridal-esque piece.”

“I felt like there was so much I would wear,” Cardin mused, citing the tie-dye tops in particular.

And what about boyfriend Aliocha Schneider? Would he wear anything from the show? “No,” he demured. “Yes you would!” Cardin countered. “What about that tiny pink purse? You could wear it as a necklace!”