Chanel’s Métiers d’Art collections are a visual treat for the senses, with elaborate themes brought to life by the button-makers (Desrues), costume jewellers (Goossens), embroiderers (Lesage and Montex), feather and flower makers (Lemarié), milliners (Maison Michel), shoemakers (Massaro) and so on. This year’s rendition is named Paris – 31 Rue Cambon, and Virginie Viard brought the show back to the legendary designer’s apartment, creating the magnificent set-up that placed emphasis on Coco Chanel’s famous mirrored staircase. In total, there are 71 different looks that exemplify the work of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art maisons, and today’s focus lies on Look 34, created using the intricate trompe-l’œil embroidery done specifically at the ateliers of Lesage.
Having been an embroiderer since 1858 (yes, that’s 162 glorious years), Lesage has been working together with Chanel since the 1980s, developing innovative tweeds for the House’s collections under the Creative Direction of Karl Lagerfeld, and now, Virginie Viard. ‘Look 34’ features the Luneville technique that involves using a crochet hook to chain stitch small decorations (black and gold beads) to the underside of the fabric. In this case, over 25,000 gold beads and 35,000 black tube beads are used to form the embroidered braids, before the seamstresses at the tailleur atelier carefully place them along the edges and cuffs of the wool tweed jacket and trousers.
The Classic Handbag (POA) was created to complement the look, crafted in the same red-and-black wool tweed and finished with the embroidered braid detailing all around the edges. Measuring 25.5 cm by 15.5 cm, the bag opens via the CC twist lock closure to a roomy compartment covered by an additional flap and fully lined in black leather, so it maintains its shape and structure over time. The Métiers d’Art 2020 ‘Look 34’ Classic Handbag isn’t just a bag, but also a one-off creation that continually pushes the boundaries to showcase the fine arts that are only alive and well today because of the French luxury house’s continued patronage. Which is what Métiers d’Art collection has always been about, to keep the knowhow of traditional crafts and techniques alive and vibrant year after year.