Fabricating A Dream
Karl Lagerfeld may be the Czar of his couture shows but the tireless and gifted ateliers that Chanel associates with are the ones who keep his crown firmly in place.
A couture buyer wouldn’t blink an eyelid at the handmade craft of the garment she is adding to her wardrobe – after all, it’s her understanding of superlative high fashion that made her a customer in the first place.
I on the other hand, gracefully give in to baffled wonderment at the meticulous technique and intricate detail of it all.
Kaiser Karl’s initial sketch goes through many processes before making a three dimensional appearance for his approval before the show.
The drawing takes shape in the form of a toile that is silhouetted on a wooden mannequin. Fabrics are chosen next; silk and organza in the case of this look 47. And then, using embroidery samples that have been given the go ahead by the Chanel studio, master ateliers Montex and Lemarié join the fray.
The former laboriously embroiders sequins on the fabric that has been mounted on a sturdy frame. The hand working the crochet needle is precise, neat and faultless; sequins are placed from the back of the fabric and the sheer scale of numbers applied on offers a sense of the task at hand – 181000 for the top, 77000 for the corset and 50000 for the underskirt.
Lemarié then takes over, using an airiness of touch with just a dot of glue and pliers for each ostrich feather that takes its place on the garment’s lurex fringed overskirt.
Final assembly and fittings naturally take place back at the studio before this fantastical piece of art makes its debut on the ramp of the iconic Grand Palais, Chanel’s favoured location for all shows.
And the dream only just begins for the ecstatic front row viewer who will resolve to make this floating slither of sequins and feathers all her own…
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