Masculine is more feminine than ever as Karl Lagerfeld creates a Chanel collection that speaks about a look and an attitude

Karl Lagerfeld has chosen Hamburg and the Elbphilharmonie to present the new Chanel Pre-Fall 2018 Métiers d’Art collection. In Hamburg, Karl Lagerfeld adds mystery and depth with the utmost elegance in an extraordinary concert hall conceived by the architects Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron, that sits majestically by the river like a futuristic liaison with the city’s industrial port.

Past, present and future have inspired Karl Lagerfeld for this Paris-Hamburg collection. Around these three axes, the designer infuses images of the Hamburg port, with gliding silhouettes of the merchant navy crew that he disrupts with the modernism of Chanel. He revisits their wardrobe, re-appropriating their pea coats, their drop-front trousers, striped tops and immutable caps. Karl Lagerfeld has enlarged this vocabulary of masculine/feminine by multiplying the details and reinventing the codes of the House to create a unique, daring, confident and ultra-feminine attitude. The look is punctuated with sailor collars, jackets that are more or less fitted, long redingotes, mini-skirts and extra-wide trousers designed to feminise this 76-strong crew of “sailors who haven’t taken to the water”, tells Karl Lagerfeld. In a cap pulled firmly down or occasionally veiled with a tulle scarf, their hands swathed in fingerless gloves, they pass with legs wrapped up in long knitted socks wearing bobbin heeled brogues with beaded bows.

Tweed is accompanied by broadcloth, cashmere and flannel; silk crêpe alternates with chiffon and a discreetly scintillating jersey. Woven patterns draw inspiration from the bricks of buildings that surround the docks in the port and the stacks of multicoloured containers that arrive by cargo ship while buttons take the shape of precious anchor bolts and braided woollen threads evolve into downy cordage. Feathers, embroidery, rhinestones, mother-of-pearl and beads all call for a sophisticated evening at the Elbphilharmonie. Black, beige, grey, navy blue, brick, flashes of gold and red, pinstripes and sailor stripes make up a minimalist palette. Chanel’s Paris, more than ever, united with the orangey hues of Hamburg’s architecture.

In terms of accessories, the fetish sailor’s bag is secured firmly on the shoulder, ready for a long voyage at sea, the minaudières take form as containers, anchor bolts and life buoys. Karl Lagerfeld dresses CHANEL’s GABRIELLE bag with an elegant checked tweed in colours typical of the city of Hamburg’s brickwork. Marine anchors appear on earrings and brooches while their chains become sautoirs and bracelets improvise themselves as cordage.

On stage, the London-based cellist, composer and producer Oliver Coates played, with the ensemble Resonanz, an original music specially created for the show.

Take a closer look at the ateliers where the craftsmen gathers the unique know-how behind the Métiers d’art collection.