With just over 36 hours to recover from the Fashion Awards in London on Monday night, yesterday evening the fashion elite regrouped for the Chanel Métiers d'Art 2018 show in Hamburg, Germany. Hosted at the Elbphilharmonie – a striking, glass concert hall designed by Herzog & de Meuron, unveiled in January 2017 – the venue choice marked a return for Karl Lagerfeld to his hometown of Hamburg. The Métiers d'Art collection (yesterday's event was Chanel's 16th consecutive year showing them) honours the fine craftsmanship that artisans including embroiderers, knitters, milliners, button specialists, jewellers and shoemakers bring to the French fashion house. Last year's event took place at the Ritz in Paris, and previous destinations include Dallas, Edinburgh and Moscow but the Elbphilharmonie, located on the Grasbrook peninsula of the Elbe River, was the perfect backdrop for a collection inspired by the sea, bustling ports and the geometric look of sea containers.
The audience, including Tilda Swinton, Kristen Stewart, Phoebe Tonkin and Lily-Rose Depp, were seated in the tiered, grand concert hall as an orchestra played and the first models emerged onto the stage. Anna Ewers opened the show in a navy knitted mini-dress with knit leg warmers, a concertina bag and naval cap. The mostly black, grey and cream collection consisted of intricately detailed signature twinsets, button-down culottes and modish minis all paired with black tights, glittering strings of pearl necklaces and veiled sailor caps. The sea theme continued in the lapels of the jackets which often featured a sailor silhouette and cashmere "fisherman" knitwear. Pops of colour accented the muted colour palette, with vivid checked skirts or frocks and red tailoring. Models wore their hair in ribboned plaits created by Sam McKnight, beneath the brooch-adorned caps. The show concluded with sumptuous dresses which truly showed off the skilled handiwork of Chanel's artisan embroiderers, featuring rhinestone, feathers, ribbons, beads and cabochons to create exceptional patterns, trompe l’œils, reflections and textures.
As the full cast of models (including Kaia Gerber and Soo Joo Park) assembled on the stage, Karl Lagerfeld took his bow, accompanied by his young muse, 9-year-old Hudson Kroenig. As rumours circulate that Kaiser Karl is stepping down from his role at Chanel, which he has held since 1983 (and whispers begin that Christopher Bailey might be replacing him!), it makes perfect sense that Lagerfeld would stage his swan song in his hometown of Hamburg.