Inside CHANEL Atelier: the Fall-Winter 2016/17 Haute Couture collection

I am a CHANEL fan. OK, I said it. I am a Karl Lagerfeld fan (a big one). And if you ask me about the first image of CHANEL mood that comes into my mind, this would be Gabrielle Chanel, on those beautiful stairs guarded by mirrors in Atelier Chanel. I know, maybe too many movies, too many Chanel history… But just look at the Chanel Fall-Winter 2016/17 Haute Couture collection! (CLICK on the gallery above, for more pictures)

Therefore, I was super-happy when I saw the new genius move that Karl Lagerfeld did: to recreate the famous ateliers on rue Cambon beneath the glass roof of the Grand Palais. Tables, sewing machines, mirrors, pins, fabrics, multi-coloured threads, toiles and mannequins: the inner world of seamstresses is put under the spotlight and animated before the audience by the premières of the ateliers, followed by their seconds and the 78 seamstresses from the House of CHANEL which counts more than 120. “I thought that was a modern idea to make them participate. They should be shown too.”


What are the highlights of the collection? A sleek, pure silhouette. Beveled or angular cut shoulders. The 3/4 length sleeves. Culottes and wide-cut trousers worn over draped leather thigh boots. The tweed jackets. Coat dresses and jacket dresses in tweed. An ethereal hairstyle tied back with a grosgrain headband.

The colours? Autumnal shades – browns, marron glacé, oranges, beige and greys – are nuanced and enriched with a palette of pinks, blacks and whites as block colours or woven in duos.

For evening, the silhouette is inspired by the work of English illustrator Aubrey Beardsley. While shoulders and hems of dresses are adorned with crests of feathers, the high waists, sometimes punctuated with protruding pockets, smooth the silhouettes.


Photography: Olivier Saillant for CHANEL

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