Karl Lagerfeld chose the Dendur temple at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York to present Chanel’s Métiers d’art 2018/19 Sammlung.
When Karl Lagerfeld descends on the Metropolitan Museum of Art, he does it in spectacular fashion. For Chanel’s Métiers d’Art show, celebrating the 26 couture workshops owned and operated by Chanel, Lagerfeld took over one of the museum’s most imposing rooms, the one housing the Temple of Dendur. There, he invited his friends Margot Robbie, Penélope Cruz, Lily-Rose Depp, Janelle Monaé, Sofia Coppola and Julianne Moore, besides his fans, and the press to take in a collection that mashed up the old-world savoir faire of the studios, the ancient iconography of Egypt, and the not-so-distant past of the ’80s.
The French house chose New York because of the relationship that Gabrielle Chanel herself made with her when she first visited her on the way to Los Angeles. The hotels and the energy of the city conquered Mademoiselle who was amazed to see Fifth Avenue one Sunday afternoon of Easter.
Independent and free of all conventionality, Gabrielle never stopped fascination with the United States. “That’s where I made my fortune,” he once said. Her passion for liberating women and her life story inspired several American artists and even Katherine Hepburn played her in a Broadway musical.
What started with a serene robe-like dress on Vittoria Ceretti became the gold leather pants worn by Pharrell Williams, then the Memphis-inspired knitwear on Ola Rudnicka, and finally, the graffiti-print denim sported by Anna Ewers. This trip through time played well in the shadow of the temple, which dates back to around 10 B.C. and arrived in America in the 1960s, welcomed to the Met by no less than Jackie Kennedy herself.
Inspired by the Egyptian civilization, the garments maintain the characteristic silhouette of the brand: sacks and skirts with simple cuts. But this time they have a long white skirt. Each of the pieces seemed to be touched by the sun of Egypt. From the clothes, shoes and jewelry had golden details. Emulating the belief of Mademoiselle, that all women should be touched by the sun to highlight the natural tan of the skin.
The Métiers d’Art honors the craftsmanship of the workshops that Chanel has acquired and kept independent, and this year, the beauty shined as bright as the garments.
The colors of the collection are the first thing that catches our attention, as saturated and showy as we see in the hieroglyphic galleries that are still intact. Thus, we have tweed jackets covered in glossy gold, the protagonist of this fashion show. But it also adds to the palette the color ivory, the coral and the intense blue of the ingredients that used to make up in the past.
Tweed, beige, white and black tones that mixed with risky colors like orange, turquoise or red. The hats made by Maison Michel were the accent that decorated each silhouette. While references to Egyptian paintings and beetles were present in small details about denim or leather.
Chanel’s global creative director for makeup and color, Lucia Pica was behind all the looks for the show, leading a team of 37 makeup artists who had to work with 80 models, some wearing gold body paint. To say it was a huge undertaking would be an understatement. The beauty concept was a contemporary take on the classic cat-eye in white, gold or deep blue gel eyeliner.