Chanel’s Métiers d’art collection, shown in December each year, is a celebration of the fashion houses’ expertise in creativity. The most recent was a bitter sweet swan song from Karl Lagerfeld. As the beloved designer made what would be his final runway appearance. This year the clothes were inspired by Ancient Egyptian civilization and the fast-paces living of New York City. Lagerfeld, of course, wonderfully married the two.
“Egyptian civilization has always fascinated me: I get inspired by an idea, which I make a reality,” explained Karl Lagerfeld following the show, for the collection that brought the ancient era into the contemporary now. Nods to Egypt, with a rich, metallic collection of clothes accented with scarab beetles and pyramid patterns, were mixed with accessories and prints inspired by New York City’s iconic skyline. Graffiti sketches by Cyril Kongo were also evident through the collection, weaving hieroglyphic influences with pop culture into the clothes.
“New York, an energy and a melting pot of cultures – it’s very stimulating”
Scarab beetle brooches were seen on necklaces, belts and buttons added a touch of history to the collection while modern bowler hats by Maison Michel came in gold, cracked leather. Kongo’s hieroglyphic prints were also seen on bags as well as thigh boots, made by the House of Massaro, printed with gold or neon pink graffiti and gold jewelled heels highlighted with enamel and enhanced with cabochons. Costume jewelry was reminiscent of Gabrielle Chanel’s 1920 art deco era, naturally, while when it to the bags – 2.55 were graffitied with camellias and double Cs; the 11.12 adorned with gold or sequins and clutches came as graphic minaudières or mini pyramids.
Karl gave Chanel’s classic Chanel tweed an Egyptian makeover and a lustrous new life with gold thread and accents weaving throughout the collection based around a palette of metallics, aged bronzes, corals and lapis blues. His Spring 2019 ready-to-wear skirts were reworked to imitate the life of shendyt’s, worn by Ancient Egyptian men, as well as ankle-length ivory dresses reminiscent of Cleopatra’s kalasiris. The references were beautifully bold but not cliché; a delicate balance of celebrating a rich and vibrant history that’s still just as relevant today.
THE GUEST LIST
While Chanel ambassadors Soo Joo Park and Pharrell Williams both walked the runway this season, among the front-rowers were Penélope Cruz, Margot Robbie, Lily-Rose Depp, Rinko Kikuchi, Liu Wen, Caroline de Maigret, Julianne Moore, Blake Lively, Marion Cotillard and director Sofia Coppola; all close fashion friends of Karl and the Parisian fashion house.
The collection came to life in New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art (the second brand to ever hold a show here – the first being Valentino back in 1982), with the show taking place in the iconic museum’s Egyptian galleries with the Temple of Dendur as its backdrop.
THE SOUND TRACK
A song called “Egypt, Egypt” by Egyptian Lover, from the album “On the Nile” served as the soundtrack with the lyrics: “Egypt, Egypt, Egypt, Egypt/ Egyptian Lover/ Egyptian Lover, baby/ Egyptian Lover/ Egyptian Lover, baby” punctuating the haunting space as the models walked their walk.
The night continued after the show as the guest list poured over to an after party held at the Rumsey Playfield in the heart of Central Park. Models and the roll call of A-listers alike snacked on burger and fries. How very American.
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