Yes, it was at the revamped Ritz Paris, where Cara Delevingne waltzed, Pharrell Williams walked, and guests were served champagne and gourmand confectionery to complete the joyful once-in-a-lifetime show experience. But the highest point was undoubtedly the utterly pretty, cocktail-ready clothes and here’s our insider view.
The first thing you need to know about the photos in the gallery below are that many are blur. I’d like to think that I’ve become a fairly decent runway photographer through the seasons at Fashion Week (see my shots on my review for Chanel‘s and Balenciaga‘s Spring Summer 2017 shows *dust shoulders*), but I’m far from a pro. That and Chanel’s latest Metiers d’Art show on Dec 6 was a dizzyingly boisterous affair in which the models swanned, skipped and pranced through gilded rooms (the bar, the terrace, what looked like a mini ballroom) in various directions at The Ritz. My eyes and iPhone were darting around as if I were watching a tennis match.
To call Chanel’s annual Metiers d’Art collection the brand’s answer to Pre-Fall wouldn’t be quite accurate. It’s bigger than what most other names roll out for this mid-of-year season in terms of range and number of looks. More importantly, it’s meant to spotlight the craftsmanship of the nine artisanal ateliers in the brand’s stable (among them embroidery specialist Lesage and milliner Maison Michel). And to do that, Karl Lagerfeld picks a destination (last year’s was Rome); designs to match it; gives venue-of-choice the Chanel makeover (ie. turns it into a sensorial spectacle); then transports the fashion cognoscenti to experience it all intimately.
The Ritz Hotel in Paris’ Place Vendome formed the backdrop and backstory to this year’s collection not only because the legendary establishment used to be home to Coco Chanel and had just undergone a multi-million-dollar revamp. Kaiser Karl also wanted to bring the glamour back to the City of Lights. “I think it’s not a bad thing for Paris, given all the Paris bashing, which I’m very much against,” he told WWD.
And with that, he and the artisans reimagined the decadent wardrobe of the women who dined and danced at The Ritz in its early glory days in the ’20s and ’30s, bringing back fluted dresses, chic leather separates and wasp-waisted tweed skirt suits flourished with sequins, feathers and flowers. In short, a thoroughly and romantically ritzy wardrobe for the cocktail crowd – and what better a way to remind us all that it’s party season (and should be every day). Here’s what I saw, loved and thought watching it up close, and think you will too.