January 29th, 2016
January 24th, 2016
The ESSEC and the Château de Versailles signed a partnership agreement last Friday to launch the Savoir-Faire d’Exception ("Exceptional Savoir-Faire") Chair with the support of the Maison Chanel and other key players in the luxury goods sector.
As part of an effort to foster French excellence, this agreement will create student internships at the Château de Versailles. Specific modules will also be organized to develop careers in the field of culture and art management. Furthermore, the promotion of French expertise will be expanded in the Asia‑Pacific region thanks to the existing campus based in Singapore. The creation of this new Chair will include approximately twenty students and begin with the 2016 academic year .
For Bruno Pavlovsky, President of Fashion Activities at Chanel: "Chanel’s commitment to preserving the master crafts, and the craftsman who are our historical partners, with their unique cultural and artistic heritage (...) has made it possible to sustain and transfer the exceptional know-how of the different ateliers while also stimulating creation and innovation." "It is essential for us to continue developing and enhancing this patrimony", he added.
© Anne Combaz
January 15th, 2016
Robert Goossens (1927‑2016), goldsmith and jeweler, was a master craftsman with a rare talent and a genuine passion for his art.
When Gabrielle Chanel met Goossens in 1953, she was enchanted by his Baroque-style creations inspired by ancient jewelry in particular Byzantine and Egyptian.
When he revealed his creations influenced by Barbarian, Visigoth, and Etruscan jewelry, her immediate response was, "They are magnificent - if people ask where they came from we will say the excavations at rue Cambon!" She went on to commission furniture, chandeliers and mirrors from Goossens for her Paris apartment at 31 rue Cambon.
Robert Goossens produced for all the major fashion designers and could work wonders with any material, from metal, stone, and leather to rock crystal, ivory, tortoiseshell, enamel and wood.
He also taught his craft to his children. Patrick creates jewelry, while Martine specializes in decorative art pieces and all their work is hand-made.
© All Rights Reserved. Maison Goossens, 1990
December 9th, 2015
Off the northern tip of Scotland, the cliffs of Fair Isle (7.68 square kilometers) rise up between the Orkney and Shetland islands. One of the most remote spots in the United Kingdom, it has preserved a tradition of producing unique bespoke knitwears.
The knits made by Mati Ventrillon reflect this heritage which goes back to the times when the islanders sailed the world, between America and Europe, while at home their spouses filled the hours inventing new and ever more original patterns.
Using only traditional designs from the 19th and 20th centuries, each garment is handcrafted in Shetland wool, faithfully reproducing the main themes.
Chanel’s Métiers d’Art collections pay tribute to the skills and heritage of traditional crafts, which they thus help to preserve.
© Patrick Dieudonne / robertharding
December 7th, 2015
Picture an entire Parisian street scene – complete with bar, restaurant, baker, grocer, florist, Metro station and cinema – and recreate it in the heart of the legendary Roman film studios, Cinecittà, and you have the cinematic setting for Chanel’s 2015 Métiers d’Art show – the collection which every December settles in a different city and celebrates the artisans of Chanel’s specialist ateliers.
Held in Teatro number 5 (of course) - the studio where Federico Fellini filmed his 1960s masterpiece "La Dolce Vita" - Karl Lagerfeld reconstructed the set for "Paris à Rome" in spectacular, meticulous detail. Built entirely in black and white, it not only recalled Italy’s moviemaking heyday with the silver patina of old projector film stock but also the era when Coco Chanel dressed its greatest stars, Jeanne Moreau, Monica Vitti, Anouk Aimée and Romy Schneider for their performances in films directed by Italy’s movie maestros Visconti or Antonioni.
Karl Lagerfeld explained that his ulterior motive for the monochromatic set was that it should bring the clothes into sharp relief, since so many of them played on the classic Chanel palette of black, beige, cream, grey and navy blue. So when the show’s live music began (interpreted by Chistophe Chassol, playing the piano in a restored bandstand) and the models emerged from the set’s Metro station, the clothes were indeed more luminous than ever.
This was the moment, aside from the typical Parisian street scene, in which there was no doubt we were looking at a collection that could have only ever come out of France, steeped in all things quintessentially French, all things quintessentially Chanel. "That’s why Paris in Rome, that is important," stressed Karl Lagerfeld, "this house is French, the collection is made in France and by the most experienced, talented and best craftspeople in the world". So from the models’ Bardot-esque beehives down to their pearl-embellished mules – a first for this particular shoe shape at Chanel, said Karl Lagerfeld – and from the long tweed jackets draped around the shoulders of slim, saucy silhouettes that included everything from glinting metallic boucle dresses to black lacquered pencil skirts, little black dresses pleated to perfection and the new three-piece suit (a jacket, straight skirt and cigarette trousers), all worn with kinky lacy tights, the overarching mood was, at first, distinctly Parisian.
But the magic of the show, and collection, was how Karl Lagerfeld directed the development of his multi-faceted Paris in Rome plot. Just as the palette began to appear tinged with Rome’s famous golden light - ochre and orange through cappuccino and pink – so too did the fabrics became richer, embellished with everything from witty surface detail such as a leather pencil skirt that resembled tiny bows of "Farfalle" pasta to feathers that had been hand-painted to resemble marble. Dresses’ necklines grew into short papal capes and the most exquisite cashmere came overlaid with rosary-jewelled necklaces. One dress, a cocoon-like bubble constructed in petals of vibrant coral, seemed to hark back to a time when couture was centred in Rome as well as Paris.
But more than anything the collection showcased Chanel as the paradigm of French chic together with the breathtaking virtuosity of its artisans who know no bounds whichever city or culture the Métiers d’Art collections’ inspiration spring from. At the end of the show, the backdrop sprang to life – the doors of every establishment flung open to serve pasta, pizza and gelato – a fitting metaphor for the bustling existence of Chanel’s specialist ateliers and their transformative powers.
© Olivier Saillant - Teatro N°5 - Cinecittà Studios - Rome
December 4th, 2015
Fine embroidery is the traditional craft of creating flat or raised motifs using a variety of materials, from cotton and sequins to cabochons, feathers, crystals, and pendants, on fabrics ranging from light, airy organza and chiffon to stiff, resistant leather and tweed.
Ornamenting a garment begins with a design which is pricked out on a paper pattern, then transferred to the fabric using a special blend (of resin and chalk).
The embroidery materials are attached one by one using a needle or crochet hook. It takes on average some 20 hours to make up a sample, which will then be presented in a frame.
One key technique is "Lunéville" embroidery, which takes its name from the French town of the same name. The technique dates from 1867, when it was invented to simplify and speed up needlework. It involves using a crochet hook to chain stitch small decorations such as tiny beads, sequins, and thread to the underside of the fabric.
The embroiderer works blind, guided solely by her experience and her dexterous fingers.
One witty innovation this year are the leather “farfalle” bows embroidered with beads, specially designed by the Maison Lesage for the Paris in Rome 2015/16 Métiers d'Art show.
© Anne Combaz
November 30th, 2015
Métiers d’Art is a French term referring to crafts that combine traditional skills with cutting-edge savoir-faire, transforming fashion materials into unique or limited-edition creations. Such craft skills are truly a question of artistry, creating something extraordinary.
Chanel acquired the first of its exceptional craft workshops in 2002, now part of its Maisons d'Art label, including Lemarié (feathers and flowers maker, 1880), Causse (glovemaker, 1892), Massaro (shoe maker, 1894), Barrie (knitwear, 1903), Lesage (embroiderer, 1924), Desrues (costume jewellery and button maker, 1929), Maison Michel (hat maker, 1936), Montex (embroiderer, 1939), Lognon (master pleater, 1945) and Goossens (goldsmith, 1950).
© Delphine Achard
September 7th, 2015
Now available in boutiques and on chanel.com
July 10th, 2015
February 25th, 2015
It takes 4 to 5 years for each craftsperson on the site to learn how to perfectly master the techniques necessary for the manufacture. The iconic Chanel handbag demands over 180 manufacturing operations and as many minute gestures.
Selecting the skin requires a rigorous control, each one must be perfect. Then, the cut of each piece of the bag's body is made according to a template outlining the pattern. The points of the cut must follow the scales of an exotic skin or the patterns of a tweed. The pieces of the bag's body are then "pared down", quilted using a needle and assembled.
First mounted flat and inside out, like a Ready-to-Wear piece, the bag takes on volume little by little. The body and base are brought together with the "bag in bag" technique: a first bag is mounted to constitute the interior and then a second for the exterior, each one assembled by hand. The craftsperson can then turn the bags inside out. The finishing touches demand several other delicate manipulations before the final control and the ritual of wrapping.