For the uninitiated, Chanel’s Métiers d’art collection is its annual December showcase of its extraordinary dedication and commitment to craft. A tradition inaugurated in 2002, the collection features exemplars from the famed 10 workshops of Lesage, Lemarié, Desrues, Atelier Montex, Massaro, Maison Michel, Ateliers de Verneuil-en-Halatte, Goossens, Causse and Lognon, who provide the house with everything from hand-worked lace to fine embroidery, magnificent buttons to meticulous studwork, sensational hats to feathered fripperies.
For the 2020 edition, the brand took the traveling show to Château de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley. It inspired a loose “Renaissance” theme that encouraged artisanal minds to go wild: an elegant, black latticework dress was punctuated with studs, made by Lemarié; a damask dress was embroidered by Lesage; glitter-soaked platform sandals were crafted by Massaro. Not forgetting, as Virginie Viard added in a statement: “A big black hat by Maison Michel, for a look that is very Milady! I also asked the Atelier Montex to make embroideries from the castle in the style of a child’s toy in strass. Because I like everything to be mixed up, all the different eras, between the Renaissance and romanticism, between rock and something very girly, it is all very Chanel.” Below, the styling tricks to borrow from the Chanel Métiers d’art collection.
The Chanel two-piece gets an athleisure spin
Struggling to prise your limbs from their lockdown leggings? We bring glad tidings: Chanel’s trad two-piece now comes teamed with ’80s-style power walking tights in surprisingly shiny hues.
Seeking to update your winter coat? Just add pearls
As we all know, long ropes of pearls were a Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel signature. And they came down the chequerboard runway at Château des Dames (a nickname that points to the property’s predominantly female stewardship), looped over rich tweeds and deliciously cosy-looking knits – the simplest way to update a winter favourite. (History buffs will have enjoyed the renewed potency lent by the Renaissance surroundings: Catherine de’ Medici, who once owned the château, had a passion for pearls – her marriage trousseau included six ropes of some of the largest pearls ever seen, as well as 25 pear-shaped paragons.)
Try an unlikely colour combination
Teal and raspberry? Charming, on the evidence of Chanel’s two-bags-good approach to layering up accessories.
Introducing the plush playsuit
The quickest way to inject tweed with a frisson of youth, according to Virginie Viard, involves baring some leg. Mini playsuits paired with cropped jackets comprised some of the stand-out looks in this collection: keep things ladylike with dainty ankle-strap shoes.
Belt up and breathe in
It’s the most instant of styling tricks that is nevertheless often overlooked: simply put, nothing makes a boxy jacket look sleeker than a waist-cinching belt – preferably one sporting the double-Cs logo.
Consider the after-dark belt
On the subject of belts, don’t underestimate the myriad glamorous uses for a jewel-encrusted chain style. While the heavenly glitter-inflected tweed two-piece of look 25 boasts all-eyes-on-me appeal all on its own, a delicate, twinkling belt at the waist never fails to enliven a silhouette.
Don gloves – and an ironic smile
There’s something wonderfully campy about gloves worn in modern-day settings: indulge in Chanel’s cultivated, lace-trim set and wear with denim for maximum irony.
Say yes to the hennin
Viard may have steered clear of the kitschy themes that came to dominate coverage of the late Karl Lagerfeld’s endlessly imaginative Chanel offerings, but don’t think for one moment that she isn’t capable of turning on the dramatics. Conical headgear crafted by Maison Michel was a witty update on Catherine de’ Medici’s penchant for classic black (she was known as the Black Queen, opting to wear the inky hue exclusively after her husband’s death). We say: doesn’t it look romantic?
Glitter shoes make everything happier
Is there anything more cheering than a pair of elegant, glitter-choked, evening shoes? Be playful: black cocktail dresses look best set against sparkle.
The return of the ribbon choker
If layer upon layer of chains and pearls feels too heavy, opt for the nonchalance of a black ribbon against the throat – and forgo earrings.
Originally published on Vogue.co.uk