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From the runway

The savoir-faire of the CHANEL 2021/22 Métiers d’art collection

Explore the intricacies of the CHANEL 2021/22 Métiers d’art collection.

25/06/2022

From the tweed and embroidery to the two-tone shoes, costume jewellery, pleated fabrics, hats and camellias, all constantly reinterpreted by the CHANEL Creation studio, the aesthetic vocabulary of the House is brought to life by the expertise of exceptional artisans.

Today, the Fashion Métiers d’art bring together some forty Maisons d’art and manufactories that serve the creativity of CHANEL and other great names in luxury. Eleven of them are now united in le19M, a building imagined by CHANEL and that was inaugurated in 2021. The number 19, for the 19th arrondissement of Paris where it stands, and also one of Gabrielle Chanel’s emblematic figures. It was here in this unique complex designed by the architect Rudy Ricciotti that the 2021/22 Métiers d’art show was first presented in December 2021.

A ″very metropolitan yet sophisticated″ collection, confides Virginie Viard, where tweed jackets with sweatshirt sleeves embroidered with coloured beads combine two of the savoir-faire practiced by the embroiderer and tweed maker Lesage. Where ″embroideries are inspired by the structure of the building itself, like those by Montex, very graphic and in silver sequins″. Where gold medallions, lions and other Byzantine jewellery made by the goldsmith Goossens appear alongside the tweed or felt hats crafted by Maison Michel, the two-tone shoes designed with the expertise of the shoemaker Massaro, the historical and contemporary savoir-faire of the feather worker and flower maker Lemarié and the pleater Lognon…

With the arrival of the CHANEL 2021/22 Métiers d’art collection in boutiques on June 9th, the exceptional skills and techniques of seven of le19M’s resident Maisons are unveiled in tune with the show’s silhouettes.

ATELIER MONTEX – EMBROIDERER SINCE 1939

The magic of the Montex embroidery atelier comes from their ability to combine ancestral traditions with contemporary creation. Its precious motifs, of a sophisticated modernity, magnify the CHANEL collections. They are made using needlework, the Lunéville crochet technique or on the Cornely, a century-old embroidery machine guided by the hand. Montex joined the Métiers d’art in 2011.

Architectural embroideries

For the CHANEL 2021/22 Métiers d’art collection, Virginie Viard entrusted Montex with the creation of graphic silver embroideries, which draw inspiration from the architecture of le19M. Masculine overcoats in tweed or blue-grey fantasy jersey are enhanced by a fully sequinned collar. These embroideries on a floral guipure lace base were made using the Lunéville crochet technique and needlework, a process that took more than 55 hours of work and 3,600 sequins: 1,460 were laid flat and 2,150 were folded by hand before being applied. The same savoir-faire is used on a long tweed coat giving the illusion of feathers, whose sleeves and braids are covered entirely with 20,150 sequins, the result of 248 hours of embroidery.

Subtle geometries

Elsewhere, these silvery motifs sketch out geometric shapes, both organic and abstract, along the hem of an understated black tweed jacket, at the ankles of matching trousers (each of which required 80 hours of embroidery) and along two tiered skirts worn with signature cardigans (120 to 225 hours of work and up to 20,750 sequins). A dress in black silk twill printed with beige double Cs is adorned with a plastron embellished with 40 crystal stones and 700 sequins and cuvettes. It took 50 hours to bring to life this jewelled netting that evokes the mantilla of le19M. The same architectural inspiration can be seen in the “diamond” quilting of a black lambskin parka, embroidered with 4,600 silver sequins using the Lunéville crochet technique and needlework, and requiring a total of 85 hours to make.

Precious knitwear

A fundamental material in the CHANEL DNA, knitwear has been rendered sublime this season by the Montex artisans: a purple cashmere sweater adorned with a trompe-l’œil belt reveals a tangle of braids, embroidered with the Cornely machine on a base of chains and then braided with sequined threads. The motif is needle embroidered with gemstones, chains of strass and tubes, while the bottom of the belt is composed of 1,650 square sequins, using the Lunéville crochet technique, laid flat and folded by hand taking a total of 40 hours. Cashmere cardigans – one purple, sported under a black wool tweed trouser suit, and the other black, worn with a pleated skirt – feature oversized jewelled buttons needlepointed with crystal stones, strass and tubes.

Trompe-l’oeil jewellery

For the ultimate touch of sophistication, a tweed bolero jacket – worn over an ochre cashmere ensemble and under a big cape in textured wool jacquard – reveals sleeves embroidered with nine trompe-l’oeil silver bracelets. The Cornely machine and needlework are used for these embroideries, which are half-braid, half-jewellery. They pay tribute to Gabrielle Chanel’s taste for accumulation, the audacity with which the couturière would mix costume jewellery with fine jewellery, as well as the cuff bracelets that she liked to wear in pairs, for a perfect symmetry. Combining tweed, a shiny leather-like fabric, crystals, chains, studs and tubes, this exceptional work took more than 105 hours to complete.

Embroidered treasures

Finally, the accessories – the 11.12 bag embroidered using the Lunéville crochet technique from more than 3,560 sequins and taking a total of 95 hours of work, the mini-bag embroidered using the Lunéville crochet technique and needlework with a netting composed of 5,450 cuvettes and sequins embellished with 107 crystal baguettes and 67 crystal cubes and taking 40 hours – respond to the silver camellias that punctuate various silhouettes. Echoing Gabrielle Chanel’s favourite flower, traditionally made by Lemarié, they are composed of 2,520 strass embroidered by a needle on a netting base. It takes 15 hours to form a single camellia.

GOOSSENS – GOLDSMITH SINCE 1950

Precise gestures, meticulous workmanship, accuracy of proportions, perfecting the object… Robert Goossens developed a set of technical skills caught between sculpture and goldsmithing. From 1954, he recreated Byzantine jewellery with Gabrielle Chanel, and he later designed some of the furniture for her apartment at 31 rue Cambon. The House of Goossens perpetuates the heritage of its founder and today continues to respond to the imagination of CHANEL. Goossens joined the Métiers d’art in 2005.

A legendary profile

This season, Goossens has made a series of costume jewellery for CHANEL, adorned with medallions with the image of Gabrielle Chanel in profile, wearing a scarf and her fetish pearl necklaces. These medallions feature on a jewelled belt, earrings, necklaces in gold metal and leather as well as an exceptional piece: a tie-shaped necklace that combines chains, metal intertwined with leather and medals of different sizes signed with the double C, worn over a tweed coat and an electric blue satin skirt.

Luminous cabochons

The Byzantine jewels so dear to the couturière inspired the Creation Studio to design a second theme: a brooch and a long cross-shaped pendant made of gold metal and amber resin is worn over an entirely embroidered dress or tweed jacket, while necklaces and earrings composed of large multicoloured cabochons reveal an infinite number of nuances encapsulated in the resin.

Under the sign of the Lion

Finally, a third theme honours the lion, Leo being the astrological sign of Gabrielle Chanel, born on August 18th. From Venice, where she visited for the first time in 1920, to her apartment at 31 rue Cambon, lions never stopped inspiring her creations. Ubiquitous in her private life, they appear on her costume jewellery as much as on the buttons of her suits. Thanks to the expertise of the Goossens artisans, her favourite animal is combined with the double C or a baroque pearl on necklaces and long earrings. The feline also appears on the front of a gold chain belt, on a pair of cuff bracelets worn in duo, on a signet ring and as a plastron version on a choker cascading with chains and pearls. The latter combines 44 pearls and 23 chains in 8 different patterns – with a total length of 3.20 metres of chain – asymmetrically assembled to resemble a lion’s mane.

MASSARO – SHOEMAKER SINCE 1894

From the carving of the last and the assembling to the thread that sews the upper to the sole, the shoes designed by Massaro for CHANEL are made entirely by hand, in a perpetual quest for both elegance and comfort. Although Massaro joined the Métiers d’art in 2002, its collaboration with CHANEL began in 1957 with the emblematic two-tone shoe and has continued from collection to collection, on the occasion of the Haute Couture and Métiers d’art shows.

A new interpretation of the two-tone shoe

For the 2021/22 Métiers d’art collection, Massaro brought the heeled goatskin Mary-Janes to life in the colours of the collection. On the runway, they came in four shades to suit each silhouette. Beige, with a long silk twill dress to match. Grey, in the image of the concrete structure of le19M, worn with an embroidered tweed suit as well as evening dresses, knitted Bermuda shorts and pale denim flounced jeans. Burgundy, paired with a woollen tweed dress or a double C patterned silver cardigan.

Finally, navy blue, adding the final touch to a tweed-like knitwear ensemble in shades of pink, a raspberry tweed jacket worn over the shoulders and a fully embroidered little waistcoat. With a contrasting dark grey toe – a subtle reference to Gabrielle Chanel’s two-tone pumps – and a 9.5-centimetre high black heel, these Mary-Janes are adorned with sophisticated details, from the little double C on the side to their finely chiselled metal buckle.

LEMARIÉ – FEATHER WORKER SINCE 1880 AND FLOWER MAKER

Since the 1960s, CHANEL’s emblematic camellias, like all of Lemarié’s floral ornaments, have been hand assembled petal by petal. In the draught-free workshops of le19M, armfuls of feathers are sorted one by one, then combed, curled, smoothed, glued and even woven. Lemarié is an essential partner to CHANEL for all of its collections and joined the Métiers d’art in 1996. The House also excels in couture sewing and creates exceptional inlays, flounces, smocking and pleats thanks to the savoir-faire of the Ateliers Lognon. All of Lemarié’s savoir-faire have been honoured in the 2021/22 Métiers d’art collection. Starting with feathers, then flowers and finally couture sewing.

A burst of feathers

To highlight the cuffs of a CHANEL suit that combines two tweeds in shades of pink and black, Lemarié made two braids composed of ostrich feathers and goose fin feathers cut in the style of a whip then mixed with strands of tweed and strips of frayed pink tulle. These precious braids are meticulously placed along the sleeve cuffs and are the result of 62 hours of work in the Lemarié ateliers at le19M. The hem of an organza dress was stitched entirely with 1,280 strands of ostrich feathers in various hues: pink, neon pink, coral, purple, rust, burgundy, bright and pale yellow. Each feather is embellished with multi-coloured strass. It took a total of 270 hours to complete.

For a long skirt in black organza, worn under a cashmere cardigan with jewelled buttons, Lemarié’s artisans made a seeding composed of 220 goose fin feathers cut in the style of cockerel whip feathers and adorned with 836 pearls, the result of 136 hours of work. A silk organza cape swathed entirely with feathers is worn over a black silk chiffon blouse and skirt. Painted to resemble splatters of paint, more than 460 black goose fin feathers required 197 hours of work by Lemarié’s artisans. A veritable ode to feather craftsmanship, a jacket and trouser outfit are entirely punctuated with thousands of pinches of ostrich feathers in shades of black, blue, yellow and neon pink. The feathers are interwoven with shiny black ribbons, strips of frayed tulle and other threads that seem to float and reach out with every movement. Requiring 257 hours of work for the jacket and 287 hours for the trousers, these pieces embody the exactitude, patience and meticulousness of Lemarié’s feather artisans.

The art of the camellia

At the entrance to the Lemarié ateliers, in the bright space of le19M, a wall covered with camellias welcomes the House artisans every day. Referencing this object so dear to its residents, this black jersey T-shirt features a flowerbed of 123 camellias in a variety of sizes and colours. The 99 multicoloured camellias, with a pearl at their heart evoking the morning dew, are made of 19 different materials from previous CHANEL collections: tweed, of course, but also organza, silk jacquard and leather. At the centre, 24 black patent camellias form a large double C. This exceptional piece took 84 hours to complete.

Couture spirit

Gabrielle Chanel liked to use ribbons in her creations. For the 2021/22 Métiers d’art collection, Lemarié’s ateliers brought new fabrics to life, composed of strips of black satin. A lace skirt is adorned with 36 metres of silk satin ribbon held together by a flat seam forming a quilted pattern and then adorned with 340 strass, all of which required 109 hours of work. Black satin ribbons also highlight a chiffon top and skirt dotted with splatters of multicoloured paint. Here, a total of 45 metres of ribbon and 226 hours of work were required. Finally, many of the silhouettes in the collection are accessorised with big black satin bows made by Lemarié, attached to a hairslide and worn nonchalantly in the hair.

MAISON MICHEL – HATTER AND MILLINER SINCE 1936

Heir to a savoir-faire established in Paris since the 14th century, Maison Michel preserves and hands down the secrets of the hatmaker’s trade. In its le19M ateliers, crowns and brims are handcrafted on 3,000 lime wood forms before being decorated with braids, flowers, feathers and other embellishments by the House milliners. Maison Michel joined the Métiers d’art in 1997. Its boaters, little veils, caps and berets are all in keeping with the CHANEL codes and accessorise every collection.

For this Métiers d’art collection, Maison Michel designed two hats at the request of the CHANEL Creation Studio, which were presented during the show, and are the final touch to the sophisticated, metropolitan silhouettes imagined by Virginie Viard. The first is a black felt boater covered in tweed using the millinery technique of “fabric stretching” and is made in two parts: the crown and the brim, brought together by invisible stitching at the base of the crown.

The second, with a turned-up brim, was moulded from a single piece of black felt, then lifted and held by a single stitch. It comes with a hand-knitted chinstrap composed of four different threads and a silver chain.

These two designs accessorise silhouettes with a masculine-feminine spirit: a small tweed jacket with embroidery over a flowing purple satin ensemble; a long tweed jacket worn over bare skin and a long grunge-like satin skirt with a devoré-effect CC motif; a voluminous knitted cardigan, a little silver top and embroidered trousers for a more casual allure; and a tuxedo revisited with a diaphanous black chiffon cape.

LESAGE – EMBROIDERER SINCE 1924 AND TWEED MAKER

A creative legend which has collaborated with the greatest of couturiers, Lesage designs and embroiders sumptuous motifs. Since 1996, it has also been reinventing the tweed so dear to CHANEL, mixing the most unexpected materials with woollen yarns. A CHANEL partner since 1983, Lesage joined the CHANEL Métiers d’art in 2002 and continues this fruitful creative dialogue under the impetus of Virginie Viard. At le19M, Lesage brings together its ateliers, its unique collection of samples and its school where embroiderers hand down the secrets of their savoir-faire to the next generations.

Subtle references to le19M

The structure and architecture of le19M building imagined by Rudy Ricciotti has inspired some of the embroideries. The first look of the show is a long coat in black woollen felt, with embroidered pockets evoking the concrete weave that envelopes le19M: an embroidery made using the Lunéville crochet technique and needlework that required 38 hours of work in the Lesage ateliers. The same motif is found on the Lunéville crocheted belt of a long tweed dress in multiple shades of pink and red, the top of which is covered with jewels to create a quilted motif (195 hours of work in total). Another exceptional piece is the little waistcoat entirely hand-embroidered using the Lunéville crochet technique with an assembly of gold threads to form a ribbon, then enhanced with sequins in shades of bronze, rust and burgundy recalling the light that filters through the façade of le19M at a certain time of day. This precious all-over design represents 390 hours of embroidery. It can also be found on four jewelled mini-bags embroidered by Lesage, presented on four silhouettes in the show and brought together in an exceptional box set in quilted black lambskin: the iconic 11.12 and 2.55 bags, the BOY CHANEL bag and the CHANEL 19 bag. Each bag requires up to 112 hours of work.

Graffiti spirit

Echoing the world of street art and graffiti, embroideries by the Lesage ateliers reinterpret the letters of CHANEL in coloured crystals and beads using the Lunéville crochet technique on the pockets of a jacket (32 hours of work). Another jacket has sleeves embroidered with a combination of hearts and double Cs (83 hours) using needlework and the Lunéville crochet technique, and is worn over a jewelled bolero jacket in tulle embroidered all-over with the same motif by the Lunéville crochet technique, giving the illusion of a tweed in sequins and woollen yarns in predominantly purple hues (320 hours).

Jewelled ornamentation

A navy blue jersey ensemble is lit up by a constellation of needlework-embroidered gemstones in shades of pink. It represents 65 hours of work for the blouse and 45 hours for the trousers. These colourful jewels also embellish a big jacket with sleeves embroidered using the Lunéville crochet technique with a plumetis of multicoloured jewels. Its cuffs were embroidered with an accumulation of trompe-l’oeil pearl cuff bracelets reminiscent of Gabrielle Chanel’s taste for these jewels, which she wore in pairs for a perfect symmetry. It took 75 hours of embroidery to render sublime this jacket, which embodies the metropolitan and sophisticated allure of the collection.

Knit effect

In a game of trompe-l’œil, tweed and knitwear – two fundamental materials in CHANEL’s vocabulary – take centre stage in this collection. While the knitwear is worked like tweed, the embroidery on the pockets of a coat, a tunic and a cashmere skirt with large multicoloured checks, as well as big cardigans, evokes the softness of knitwear. The belt of a dress in organza and feathers is itself embroidered using the Lunéville crochet technique and needlework in a ribbed style (63 hours). Resulting from 440 hours of work, a bolero jacket worn under a burgundy tweed jacket is embroidered entirely with strands of wool and sequins using the Lunéville crochet technique, while the top of a black dress in crêpe georgette combining black and white wool and cashmere threads gives the illusion of a sweater with sleeves enhanced with needlepoint jewels, and required 370 hours of embroidery.

Codes and symbols

A little black dress in tulle with cross-over straps is embroidered entirely using the Lunéville crochet technique and needlework with a black wool flowerbed set against a background of black and midnight blue sequins. In contrast to the black, the heart of each flower is adorned with midnight blue and gold reflections, all punctuated with sequins in the shape of pink clovers. It took 530 hours to make. Like Montex, Lesage’s savoir-faire is highlighted on a cardigan adorned with three oversized jewelled buttons embroidered like the symbols of CHANEL: a multicoloured camellia, a double C in strass and little gold chains, and a bottle of CHANEL N°5 perfume on a quilted motif.

Tweeds

Three tweeds were made by Lesage for this collection. The first, which features on three tweed jackets, is made up of fantasy threads in different shades of black. A second tweed is reminiscent of flannel, a fabric borrowed from menswear, here reconstituted in the form of a weave of black and white graphic threads. It is used on a long coat with a fringed cape effect as well as on darted trousers, worn with a matching short, fitted jacket or a jacket and sleeveless coat in multicoloured houndstooth tweed. Finally, a dress comes in a third weave of soft, cloud-like threads in different shades of burgundy, which extends the trompe-l’oeil knit effect of some of the embroidery in the collection.

THE LOGNON ATELIERS – PLEATER SINCE 1853

Knife, flat, sunray, Watteau or peacock… Lognon has more than 3,000 kraft cardboard folding moulds, that look like origami. Some are over one hundred years old, others have just been created, because the Lognon artisans are constantly looking for new pleats, including for the CHANEL Creation Studio. Giving shape and movement to the most varied of fabrics is a truly virtuoso skill, a four-handed operation in perfect synchronisation that requires physical strength, extreme meticulousness, experience of touch and an expert knowledge in the specificities of textiles. Lognon joined Lemarié and the Métiers d’art in 2013.

Cascading

This Métiers d’art collection reflects the diversity of the pleats made at Lognon. A long black dress combines a crêpe georgette top with a flat and quilted effect pleat and a back-and-forth cascading skirt made of 63 metres of flattened black silk ribbons and 9 metres of little ribbons. This dress represents 224 hours of work.

Ladder stitch lace

Another technique dear to the ateliers, the “ladder stitch lace” creates a subtle transparency on a long, entirely pleated dress, composed of 17 metres of unbleached silk crêpe. The result of 449 hours of work, the flat pleating is punctuated by applications of ladder stitch lace braids, while the cuffs are hemmed with white silk chiffon braid.

CC pleat

Finally, a little two-tone accordion-pleated A-line skirt reveals a contrasting double C when worn. Several panels of silk organza were pleated by Lognon using cardboard pleating moulds and then decorated by Lemarié with 1,600 little pearls. The positioning of the motif required extraordinary dexterity and over 160 hours of meticulous work. Once the pleat is unfolded, the double C returns to its perfect shape. It symbolises the creative dialogue between CHANEL and the Métiers d’art artisans, who constantly push the limits of their savoir-faire at the service of creativity

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