From Paris to Kuala Lumpur : An Afternoon of Metiers D'Art with Chanel

A friend with impeccable style once said, “To wear ― let alone to own ― a Chanel is indeed a true privilege."

Then she continued, "Reason being, when you wear a piece of Chanel, you are not just wearing a brand but threads of love, dedication and profound passion, tightly woven into a fabric of esteemed heritage; a magnificent story of a visionary who changed the way women dress today.”

I could always attest to her notion as Chanel and luxury could not be separated from one another. 

Even before its global expansion, the brand’s luxurious appeal has been legendary to the privileged women around the world, hence prompting them to fly into Paris and form a chic beeline in front of her storied Rue Cambon boutique to have their boucle suits made and to stock on its iconic quilted bags that can be worn from morning right to night. 

And of course, when Chanel sent you an invitation, to say “no” in your RSVP is certainly a no-no. Thus, on an afternoon, I was invited by Chanel Malaysia to preview the soon-to-be-released Métiers D’Art Paris-Dallas collection. 

Held at the Shalini Ganendra Fine Art Gallery within the lush perimeters of the Section 16 residential area, Malaysia is the first country in the region to hold a press preview - which made me the first blogger in Southeast Asia to preview the collection first hand - and the gallery was indeed an appropriate setting for the collection. 

The silvery grey shade of the sky on that afternoon truly evoked the pre-autumnal feel as I passed by trees blessed with lush foliage, hence fortifying the urge to try the metiers d’art pieces that are meant for the upcoming pre-fall season.

Inside, several editors and fashion stylists were examining the pieces; running their fingers through the surface of the fabrics and studying the silhouettes. 

I waltzed my way around marvelling at the pieces, starting with the classic and diaphanous tulle dress heavily embellished with sequined stars; a monotonous feathery overcoat; and a semi-Victorian ruffle-rich silk gown with leather trimming. 

These haute couture worthy pieces stood guard near the entrance, welcoming guests to the presentation. 

If you wonder why [Karl] Lagerfeld chose Dallas as the new muse of his metiers d’art collection, the story behind it can be traced back to the days when Coco Chanel accepted the invitation of Stanley Marcus of the renowned high-end fashion retailer Neiman Marcus to Dallas, Texas, where the company is based, even to this day. 

Chanel made her trip from Paris to Dallas on the month of September in 1957 – three years after the reopening of her couture house and a month after Malaysia gained its independence from the British.
According to Ken Downing of Neiman Marcus, Chanel was mesmerised by the idea of Texas, so Marcus threw a barbecue for her. However, Mademoiselle Chanel seemed to dislike the taste of barbecue. 

The story has it that she tossed her plate of barbecued meat under the table and it went all over Elizabeth Arden’s red satin shoes! 

Apart from the barbecue, Chanel was awarded by Marcus as the great innovator who emancipated the feminine silhouette and noted that she was the first to recognise that the casualness of the 20th century must be reflected in the clothes that women wear.
Inspired by her journey to Dallas, Lagerfeld came up with a metiers d’art collection that pays homage to the trip – hence the name Paris-Dallas collection. 

For this collection, Lagerfeld juxtaposes nuances of Native American style with a hint of Calamity Jane’s iconic style. 

However, the Native American nuances are all-pervading and serve as leitmotifs to the collection, starting from the prints and right up to the accessories.

Fringe accents accentuate much of the pieces such as tweed suits and dresses, while footwear boasts masculine silhouette approach. 

Hats, Native American-styled feather with printed Chanel logo, gun-fashioned accessories and Native American inspired jewelleries such as cuffs and necklaces adorned with semi-precious stones make up the accessories department. 

One of my favourite looks is the star-sequined drenched jacket inspired by the star-spangled banner that is cut according to the shape of classic boucle jacket. However, at the time of the prersentation, the skirt - yes, it is a part of a suit - is yet to arrive from Paris. 

Noticing the bowls of Garrett popcorn and pretzel sticks, I guessed there will be a sort of movie screening. Indeed, I was not wrong. Guests were then treated to a screening of Karl Lagerfeld’s latest film called The Return. 

Written and directed by Lagerfeld himself, the short film boasts a stellar cast of renowned names in the industry, as well as Chanel personalities namely French actress Anna Mouglalis, whose sultry and husky voice provide a unique edge to her own character; socialite Lady Amanda Harlech and Geraldine Chaplin as Gabrielle Chanel herself.

The movie, which can be viewed online, tells the story of Chanel’s return to business after the end of World War II. At this time, the treatment that she received from the French press was horrible. 

However, Chanel managed to triumph in the end. The runway show screening that took place in Dallas last year followed suit. 

Post screening, I made another round of inspection on the collection while mingling with the editors and stylists. 

Chanel Métiers D’Art Paris-Dallas collection 2014 will be available at Chanel store, Suria KLCC in the month of June. 

*Photos by me

Chanel - LC-G06 - LC-G07, Ground Floor, Suria KLCC, Jalan Ampang, 50088 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.         


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