• CHANEL Collection Haute Couture Automne-Hiver 2014-15. Photo : Benoît Peverelli
  • CHANEL Collection Haute Couture Printemps-Été 2014. Photo : Benoît Peverelli
  • CHANEL Collection Haute Couture Automne-Hiver 2014-15. Photo : Benoît Peverelli
  • CHANEL Collection Haute Couture Automne-Hiver 2014-15. Photo : Benoît Peverelli
exhibitions 2015
CHANEL - Innovation
A dress embroidered with bags of sequins, another in neoprene clad in precious Calais lace, netting and embroideries in concrete, skilful pleats evoking origami, and airy, flame-like feathers casting a blur on the transparency of mousseline… CHANEL Haute Couture is never contrived, it tests the limits of know-how as like it surprises by pushing back all preconceptions. At its absolute best, the luxury creative world expresses itself through the permanent pursuit of perfection. This constantly reinvented construction of beauty feeds on a desire for innovation, its most outward appearances take form in the variations on a style and are merely just the tip of the iceberg. What lies below is orchestration and is not immediately revealed at the outset. All begins with Karl Lagerfeld’s drawings and indications, followed by the joint-efforts of the studio and the CHANEL workshops, along with those of the Métiers d’art. Researching, refining and questioning all enable it to advance and move ahead.
Karl Lagerfeld has turned CHANEL Haute Couture into a creative think-tank where the highest degree of different skills and craftsmanship (of the embroiderers, feather workers, finery, glove and shoe makers, fine-metal workers and hat makers) continually integrate new materials and ways of working capable of interpreting the most audacious ideas, and of bringing the wildest of all dreams to life. This may start from an urge to use a new material in the construction of refined embroideries or in a vest made from light and airy netting, from the desire to sculpt without seams the neoprene usually designated for sport, or from the wish to obtain startling new effects with feathers, beads and sequins.
This refinement made up of invention, multiple propositions, apparent lightness and grace is the product of the great rigour necessary in the construction process. The rigour that achieves perfection in cutting and in honing down silhouettes that break away from Haute Couture’s sometimes nostalgic image can also be found in the finest of details, or in a kind of luxury that is more of a feeling than just something that is seen.
The models presented in this exhibition are a testimony to this experimentation, as if from a contemporary conception of Haute Couture that draws its sustenance from the here and now, and translates the aspirations and feelings of the moment.
Modernity is revealed as much through the freedom of the silhouettes as by the introduction of what are basically technical materials into Haute Couture, as much in the complementary natures of arts and crafts and technology, as through a certain conception of allure that smashes up the codes and plays on the contrasts, for example, in an entire collection shod in sneakers. Innovation is also about demonstrating that luxury does not lie in a surplus of signs, but has a rather more distinctive nature when it takes the form of modesty in appearance, lightness and fluidity. Here, Karl Lagerfeld’s reflections share points in common with Mallet-Stevens’.
The CHANEL creations presented in this exhibition held at the villa Noailles echo in its conception a luxurious and sophisticated architecture – one with an appearance that is yet simple and clear-cut. Architecture born of a desire for comfort and freedom which are both part of the same aspiration for originality and beauty.

Françoise Claire Prodhon