It’s a civilization spanning back thousands of years – but on Tuesday evening, Ancient Egypt came to life at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, with a very modern twist. Chanel’s Métiers d’Art show took place in the cultural gem’s Egyptian galleries, with the Temple of Dendur as its backdrop, and stars including Penélope Cruz, Margot Robbie, Julianne Moore, and Marion Cotillard lining the front row.
Taking influence from the surroundings, Karl Lagerfeld perfectly fused historic Egyptian iconography and themes with signature Chanel looks at the Pre-Fall 2019 fashion show. “Egyptian civilization has always fascinated me: I get inspired by an idea, which I make a reality,” the creative director explained after the show, which featured models such as Kaia Gerber and Pharrell Williams. The latest collection is designed to showcase the incredibly intricate work of the maison’s embroiderers, feather-workers, button makers, costume jewelers, fabric weavers, milliners, and shoemakers. Even the smallest section of embroidered pattern-work could take 17 hours for just a draft.
The show opened with revamped skirts from the Spring 2019 ready-to-wear show, worked to imitate the shendyt worn by Ancient Egyptian men, as well as ankle-length ivory dresses embodying Cleopatra’s kalasiris. Chanel’s classic tweed was given a lustrous new life with gold accents and coloring, ranging from bright metallic yellows to aged bronzes, while corals and lapis lazuli blues played off the brilliant palette. Subtle nods to the ancient civilization, such as mini pyramids of turquoise, laid in relief against delicate tweed braids, or scarab beetle brooches, punctuating necklaces, belts, and buttons, brought Ancient Egypt into a contemporary reimagining.
Cracked gold leather boater hats by Maison Michel were peppered throughout, accentuating the collection’s clean lines and geometric embellishments, while accessories and prints in particular nodded towards the show’s location. Graffiti sketches by Cyril Kongo were cast on separates, tying together hieroglyphic influences with pop culture, while interpretations of the New York skyline were used as embroidery. “New York, it’s an energy and a melting pot of cultures, it’s very stimulating,” said Lagerfeld, with tributes to the city also including denim aviator jackets and printed leather dresses.
Scroll through the gallery above to discover more from the collection.