Chanel, défilé “Paris-Bombay, Métiers d’Art”, A/W 2012-13 (Grand Palais, Paris, December 2011).


This now famous défilé showcasing the several artisans houses Chanel acquired along the years (embroideries by Lesage, head pieces by Michel, jewelry by Desrues, shoes by Massaro, flowers by Guillet,…), is a one-of-a-kind. The guests were sat behind dining tables displayed around the central circular catwalk. This could remind us Dries Van Noten’s Summer 2005 50th fashion show held in a derelict factory in Paris suburbs, where a 500 guests table was set with 250 waiters ready to serve dinner before the show starts, the dining table as a catwalk. But this time, the guests were sat next to each other, facing the catwalk and central deco, where oriental pastries & macarons (the subtlety of mixing  flavours & textures) had been displayed. And this changes the whole thing as it appears to be a collective celebration and not an individual appropriation anymore (when sat facing each other). This way, Chanel wanted to infuse festive values (sharing) and reconcile body & pleasure, mixing physical & aesthetic taste. So how come oriental pastries (even if displayed among fruits & flowers) could be a valuable guest at a fashion show, where all have in mind that calories are enemies ? A prism effect has clearly worked and a look from this new angle gives us a transversal (i.e.complementary, comparative & interactive) look at those two fields ( food & fashion), setting a clear festive tone when put together. Guests are attending a feast more than a professional fashion show; they share the elements (the same table, serving trays, the show, etc.) and are therefore themselves a seamless part of the feast, where none is redundant. On the tables, the flowers & crystal embellish the fruits & pastries. This is the same for the fashion sets.  Each part enhances the other, as if it was offering its essence to the other, each being an essential element to the whole. One can also notice that the food will stay after the show ends as it must be in the indian culture: first the show, then the food. The food as a continuation to the show. The fashion show is therefore a part of a bigger event, not the whole of it, as it usually is. There is like an uncluttering work between each element , what makes this apparent opulence so elegant. And this is true for gastronomy as well. It is an artisanal world where each dish, product, flavour is a part of a whole. Each ‘instrument’ plays its score, the whole being greater than the sum of its parts. Presenting its traditional “Métiers d’Art” collection, Chanel has once again praised those divinely gifted hands & minds whose only branding is their intelligence of materials & artisanal savoir-faire. Fashion alongside Gastronomy.  Thank you Mr. Lagerfeld !