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Fashion

Narelle Kheng's Fashion Week Lesson: Why Couture Costs So Much

And she also went away with some couture-level embroidery skills. So just how much of a luxury fashion convert is the Singapore pop star after her first Paris Fashion Week experience with Female? Watch to find out.

One of the things that have always stuck from one of our first meetings with Narelle Kheng is her confident declaration that she’s hesitant to be perceived as “a fashion girl”. (You can read a more in-depth piece on her views about style here.) That’s not to say though that she’s not interested in fashion. (She just doesn’t like to be pigeonholed or come across as precious.) And if anything, the 24-year-old possesses a keen curiosity and appreciation for all things creative and cultural.

It’s apparent in the way she agreed readily to our invite to attend Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2018 – her first official experience of the seasonal shows – with us in March; then proceeded to analyse and question each show as if it were a social experiment. We documented the whole process into a mini video series, the first episode of which – shot at Chloe – can be viewed here. And when she got to visit the showrooms for an up-close look at the collections, her focus was as much on the craftsmanship as it were on the concept and what she’d wear.

Craftsmanship lies at the heart of Lesage, the 19th century embroidery atelier that the Chanel group acquired in 2002 with the aim of preserving its heritage and know-how. Incidentally, Female was due for a visit to Ecole Lesage – its training facility – following Chanel’s Metiers d’Art Paris-Hamburg show in December, so we brought Kheng along, and documented the session.

Kheng might never want to come across as precious, but even she finds it hard to deny the value of what an institute like Lesage does. Watch the video to find out what she learnt, and hit the gallery below for looks from Chanel’s Metiers d’Art Paris-Hamburg collection that bear its work.