Chanel Haute Couture: Part II

Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers

The different garments sketched out on the sketches you can see here above are then assigned to different people, the people who will bring these garments to life – sometimes more people can work on the same garment and sometimes one person is assigned a sketch alone. I’m not by any means an expert when it comes to the process of sewing or creating a haute couture piece like this so please forgive me if I miss about one hundred steps in this process but I tried to take in as much information as I possible could while making sure not to drool on any of the expensive fabrics. 

The sketches come to life as a cotton toile, the first version of the garment shown to the designer (you can see an example of this with the photos of the black dress a few photos below for example: the toile version and the final version). Then, the moving body being essential in the creative process, it’s fitted on the in-house model. Once the embroideries, feathers and flowers are delivered from Lesage and Lemarié they can be incorporated into the design as well. The final fittings take place two days prior the runway show and only then are outfits accessorised with jewellery, gloves, hats and shoes etc. and all of the final touches added. 

Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers

When visiting the ateliers, merely one week before the show is about to take place, not much looks as though it’s finished to my untrained eye. I can only imagine how much work these people will have in front of them before the looks are ready to walk down the runway at the Grand Palais. It also made me realise how incredibly fast these women and men must be able to work, yet still keep the quality so insanely high for everything that they do.

Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers
Inside the Chanel Ateliers

I hope you remember this beautiful feather work that was being made in the Lemarié atelier above? Now it’s coming to life on an actual dress and all of these people’s hard work is finally forming a finished garment. I have to say that walking through all of these ateliers and looking at all of these different pieces is kind of like emptying a box of puzzles on top of a table – you don’t really know what you’re looking at until more and more pieces are put in their right place. When taking these photos I had no idea what Karl and his team had in mind all along and what the show might look like when finished. So many ideas and a mind going crazy due to curiousness is the only way I can describe the way I felt after this visit. 

It was a true honour, and I don’t say this lightly, to get the chance to visit these historic and prestigious ateliers that are a part of creating these garments – or rather pieces of art if you ask me. I can’t wait to show you the final photographs that I took at the show to tie this wonderful experience together.