Chanel’s new Paris-Salzburg Métiers d’art collection celebrates the rich craftsmanship of the house’s seven ateliers, and many of these works of art head straight from the cinematic show to the two Chanel boutiques in Wynn and Encore.
Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel’s Metiers d’art show in Salzburg with Cara Delevingne, the face of the Paris-Salzburg 2014/15 collection.
Karl Lagerfeld likes a good fashion show. In recent seasons, the legendary creative director of Chanel has offered catwalks resembling a grand supermarché (stocked with Chanel-branded chain saws and bags of potato chips), bustling boulevards where a fake political protest took place (“Make fashion, not war!” “Votez Coco!”), and the Brasserie Gabrielle, a mock café filled with clinking cups, uniformed waiters, and models clad in yards of beautiful tweed.
In fact, Lagerfeld enjoyed his recent Paris-Salzburg Métiers d’art show so much that he presented it not once but twice—first in the 18th-century Schloss Leopoldskron palace in Salzburg, Austria, then to a packed crowd of fashion editors, celebrities (Beyoncé!), and style influencers (Pharrell!) this spring at the Park Avenue Armory in Manhattan. It was a true encore performance, with the same models, clothes, and darkly romantic music. The only element not present: that enormous palace. But as Lagerfeld cheerfully notes, “The simpler set in New York actually showed the collection better than overly ornate, gilded rooms.”
For the uninitiated, the Métiers collections are typically shown once a year, between the spring ready-to-wear and resort seasons. They’re arguably the most exquisite of Chanel’s shows, a celebration of the rich craftsmanship of the house’s seven ateliers, including the famed embroidery creator Lesage, the milliner Michel, and the feather specialist Lemarie. The clothes are lavish, and so is the backdrop. Since the Métiers collection debuted in 2002, it’s been presented in such memorable locations as a rodeo in Dallas, a castle in Scotland, and a barge in Shanghai.
Salzburg was particularly meaningful for Lagerfeld. Rumor has it that Coco Chanel came up with the idea for her iconic four-pocket jacket after spying a hotel lift operator in Salzburg wearing a similar design. But as Lagerfeld charmingly confesses, “Nobody can prove it, but who cares? There was a connection, and that was my inspiration.”
The Chanel boutique at Wynn.
The background may be a little hazy, but the collection more than hit the mark. The 80-plus looks playfully reinterpreted traditional Austrian style, with jackets taking a starring role. There was an awe-inspiring cape hand-stitched with dazzling blue feathers (which delicately floated around the model like wings), dozens of jeweled blazers, piped military jackets, and a lambskin coat with a crackled, iridescent finish that flickered in the light.
Cocktail and eveningwear featured pleated leather skirts, puffy minis embroidered with outrageously fun silk feathers, dirndl-style dresses with leather bodices and sparkling accents. A stunning silk organdy A-line dress blew everyone away with its hand-dyed goose feathers—in Alpine shades of scarlet, emerald, canary, and sapphire—which were appliquéd one by one to form a floral pattern. Or how about that beaded crepe georgette dress with a leather bolero that took more than 1,800 hours to complete? Breathtaking.
To round out the collection, Lagerfeld designed ruffled blouses with high collars and bibs, knit leggings in hunting colors of green and dove gray, and tomboyish wool tuxedo trousers that gave models like Stella Tennant serious swagger. Lagerfeld even made a convincing case for lederhosen, outfitting his 6-year-old godson Hudson in a pair cut from denim and worn with kneesocks. The look reminded the designer of what he wore as a child. “But my lederhosen were made from leather,” he says. “There were no jeans around for that back then!”
Even the accessories didn’t miss a beat. Coiled and braided headphones that cover the ears, felt bags embroidered with flowers, tall plumed hats, patent-leather clogs—everything conveyed a playful whimsy. Lagerfeld even closed the show in Salzburg by walking out with model Cara Delevingne, who wore a white tiered silk organza skirt paired with a matching bolero and black cummerbund—and casually carried a half-eaten pretzel in her hand, much to the audience’s amusement.
All this glamour simply underscored the importance of the ateliers. As Barbara Cirkva, Chanel’s President for Fashion in the US, points out, “The handcrafted skill that goes into these pieces can never be replicated. And you’d be hard-pressed to find a Chanel runway or Métiers collection that doesn’t involve the ateliers on some level, whether it’s hand-woven braiding on a jacket or an embroidered camellia.”
A number of these exquisite pieces will find their way into Wynn’s two Chanel boutiques, where the demand for everything from watches to cosmetics to couture eveningwear continues to grow, says Cirkva. “Las Vegas has a very fashion-savvy local clientele who can shop anywhere—and do.” For that reason, Chanel often sends more of its Métiers collection here than to other cities, given Vegas’s appetite for luxury, which is fed by the demand of international shoppers.
Select pieces from the Paris-Salzburg collection are in the Wynn boutiques now, including a jet-black quilted shift dress sewn from gathered silk pongee and embellished with velvet edelweiss and pleated leather strips at the sleeves. And there is a pink chine felt boot with a quilted gold heel and an update of a classic Chanel suit. Other items can be ordered from the boutique of your choice. The one in Encore may be particularly apropos, as it’s modeled after Coco Chanel’s apartment at 31 Rue Cambon in Paris, down to the fireplace, which is an exact replica of her own.
While it’s easy to fall in love with every last ruffled blouse and bow in the Métiers d’art collection, it’s impossible to single out a favorite item. Not even Lagerfeld can do it. “I love the collection as a whole,” he says. “If not, I would only show one dress!” Chanel at Encore, 702-770-5468; Chanel at Wynn, 702-770-3532