As the sun sets over Fair Park in just a few hours, the curtain will rise on the greatest fashion event to grace our city in recent memory. Karl Lagerfeld, Creative Director of the iconic house of Chanel, brings his biannual Métiers d’Art show to Dallas tonight.
Over the past ten months, we at DFW Style Daily have tracked each update on this singular spectacular on behalf of our readers. Today, to mark its anticipated arrival, we present the following study on Métiers d’Art, originally published on August 8. Read on for Heather Lettieri’s insights on the origin and history of the series, plus what it means for our city’s future.
Authored by Heather Lettieri, August 8, 2013:
Coming this December to Dallas, the hottest ticket in town won’t be a band or a new Hollywood blockbuster. The can’t-miss event of the season will be the envy of the entire fashion world, and it will happen right here in our own backyard. We refer, of course, to Chanel’s Métiers d’Art runway spectacular, set for the evening of December 10 in Fair Park.
With so much stylish excitement building by the day, the time is now to explore the history behind this unparalleled annual show, and the precedent that it will set for Dallas. Today, we’ll learn what sets Métiers d’Art apart, starting with the astounding level of talent that will soon descend upon our city.
Métier (pronounced may-tee-yay) is derived from the French word mestier, and the Latin word ministerium, denoting the work of those called upon by the ministry. In other words, these trades and skills aren’t just jobs, but rather, a métier is a calling. For the artisans in question, their métiers are their way of life.
In 1997, Chanel acquired eight Parisian specialty ateliers. With this gain, the iconic design house set out to support and preserve fashion’s traditional way of craftsmanship. The original group consisted of a metalworker, flower and feather craftsmen, milliner, two embroiderers, a shoemaker, goldsmith, and a floral accessory expert.
Chanel Creative Director Karl Lagerfeld launched the Métiers d’Art show in 2002 as a means to showcase these couture craftsmen in an opulent runway setting. In doing so, he paved the way for the modern trend of hyper-luxury, and launched the fashion world’s obsession with pre-collections.
Prior to Métiers d’Art, a fashion house would traditionally release two collections each year – Spring and Fall. With the rise and immediate global obsession with Chanel’s December-timed special productions, however, every other major house followed suit with its own pre-Fall collections.
The locations for Métiers d’Art shows are equally as important as the fashion. Each year, Lagerfeld, a masterful visual communicator, pays homage to cities that greatly affected the growth and history of Chanel. The clothes are subtly evocative of the settings, and often more wearable than haute couture. Lagerfeld is inspired by the culture and folklore of his annual locale, which in turn, has historical significance to the brand.
For example, the December 2012 Paris-Edinburgh show was held at Linlithgow Palace in Scotland. In the 1920’s, Coco Chanel spent much of her time in the Scottish Highlands while in a relationship with the Duke of Westminster, and as a result, the country was a key player in the origin of many iconic Chanel designs. Her love of the country influenced Chanel’s use of Scottish textiles, including Tartan, Fair Isle, and most recognizably, Bouclé. The show was the grandest “thank you” possible to the country as a whole.
This December, history will repeat itself when Lagerfeld brings his stunning thanks to America, by way of Texas. After WWII, when the house of Chanel reopened its doors, it was shunned by the French. However, Dallas-based retailer Neiman Marcus warmly welcomed the luxury brand’s grand return. Thus, our city gets the direct compliment of housing the next Chanel Métiers d’Art show.
Come December 10th, the biggest names in the fashion world, from editors to models to celebrities, will meet right at our doorstep. All eyes will be on Dallas, and they will never look upon it the same way again. The event will, finally, offer Dallas the chance it deserves to grow into a respected fashion capital.
Images, credit TheNewsGallery.com (Paris-Bombay), ThaiCatwalk.net (Paris-Moscow), Chanel.com (Paris-Edinburgh), TheCherryBlossomGirl.com (Paris-Byzance), Wunderbuzz.co.uk (Paris-Shanghai).