Chanel’s Métiers d’Art Celebrates Artisan Mastery In Manchester
Chanel, the epitome of luxury fashion, recently transformed Manchester, England’s third most populous city, into a runway for its distinguished Métiers d’Art show. This event, traditionally a homage to the brand’s artisan community, found a surprising yet fitting backdrop in Manchester, a city steeped in textile history and rich in counter-cultural ethos.
On a rainy December evening, the cobblestone streets of Manchester’s Northern Quarter, under a sprawling protective canopy, came alive with Chanel’s latest creations. This unlikely union between the quintessential French fashion house and the English city known for its rebellious spirit in music and literature presented a unique canvas for creative exploration.
The collection, a deft blend of British heritage and Chanel’s signature elegance, featured an array of English sartorial references. From the 1960s Mary-Jane pumps adorned with sparkling cross straps to newsboy hats crafted in peach tweed, the line-up was a nod to England’s fashion legacy. The show’s vividly colored tweed suits, a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II’s iconic style, required around 300 hours of artisanal expertise, showcasing the meticulous craftsmanship at the heart of Chanel’s ethos.
Central to Métiers d’Art is the celebration of the masterful artisans Chanel has nurtured since 1985. These ateliers, once on the brink of fading into obscurity, have found renewed life and recognition through Chanel’s patronage. The dedication of these craftsmen is evident in each piece, from the intricately embroidered tweeds by Maison Lesage to the ornately embellished garments, each requiring up to 500 hours of laborious love and skill.
While the event drew in celebrities and fashion luminaries like Sofia Coppola and Kristen Stewart, its exclusive nature sparked mixed reactions among Manchester’s locals. The city’s residents, accustomed to the open, democratic spirit of Manchester, found themselves at arm’s length from the glitz, resorting to social media and pub benches for glimpses of the high-fashion spectacle.
Despite this, Chanel’s foray into Manchester was more than just a geographic shift. It was a fusion of the city’s indomitable spirit with the timeless elegance of Chanel. The collection’s standout piece, a black overcoat adorned with raw-hemmed, deconstructed appliqué flowers, embodied this synthesis. This garment, a labor of 300 hours, mirrored Manchester’s punk energy through Chanel’s refined lens.
Chanel’s Métiers d’Art show in Manchester was a testament to the enduring relevance of artisanal skill in an age of rapid technological advancement. It served as a reminder of the unparalleled beauty and humanity that handcrafted artistry brings to the world of fashion. As the show concluded, it was clear that beyond the dazzle and glamour, the true stars were the hands that brought each creation to life.
Ntianu Obiora is a versatile creative professional with over a decade of experience in publishing, marketing, communications, and digital strategy. She is the Online Editor at THEWILL DOWNTOWN