Behind the blacked out windows and unassuming façade of Chanel’s Metiers D’Art 2019 Melbourme event venue Zinc transformed into an exclusive enclave of luxury fashion.
The Buckingham’s very own Business Development Manager, Jody Costantino, used her private invite to give us the first-hand experience.
A few steps past the plain black screens, (designed to remind the general public that such fashion is, and should be, inaccessible to the masses) lush black velvet furnishing atop custom flooring adorned with white roses instantly generated Chanel atmosphere of exclusivity and refinement.
Panoramic LCD screens displaying the vogue catwalk featuring the collection of over 100 pieces, all the while pol roger champagne was served continuously and without restraint.
Past the luxe antechamber were three gallery spaces in which the new collection was displayed.
Here the typically Chanel atmosphere jarred a little with the range inspired by the Met’s Temple of Dendur exhibit. Both the gaudiness of the ancient Egyptian monarchy and grit of New York City are there; in a collection featuring the iconic Chanel tweed texture beneath which flow clinging liquid jersey, layered over gilt pants or sparkling floor length maxi dresses with regal collars.
This cacophony of embellishments created an eclectic aesthetic that is rather a step away from the monochromatic tailored suits we have come to know, expect and associate with the brand.
Pieces were reminiscent of the unapologetically bold patterns and clashes of modern Versace or the kitsch of contemporary Gucci. These references are notable as both (Gucci perhaps more so than Versace) have more successfully integrated themselves into the lucrative market of the young elite and online stars. A generation that, thanks to social media culture, are the most influential people in youth fashion by building brand image and generating demand.
This collection is by no means Haute Couture, it is ready to wear and saleable, (for those with a spare few thousand dollars of course). More importantly, it denotes a new direction for the mature brand. An exciting and novel one at that. As with all things, high and luxuriant fashion is a window into the future, foreshadowing the pared-back-imitations we will be seeing in our fast fashion retailers in a season or two.
Gaudiness and eclectic luxury pair as well now as they have done since the days of the Ancient Egyptians. It seems to be an eerie parallel that a high-end luxury brand should draw inspiration from the bejewelled vestments of royalty and status. It highlights that in many ways the purpose of fashion has not changed in over 3000 years. However, I would argue that it has expanded from this point to place where art, status and the story of humanity align. Chanel’s Metier D’Art’s collection for 2019 exemplifies this in not just the garments presented but in the translation of artistic vision into the ambience of their exhibition space. On this night Zinc existed as a portal to the timeless space of luxury and glamour.