There's no one quite like Karl Lagerfeld to turn a runway show into a plot of fantasy on Earth (see: this, this, this, and this). But as anyone who's ever held Chanel in her hands will tell you, the most magical place in existence is a real, actual place (that doesn't get packed up and shipped away once Fashion Week is over): It's the Chanel atelier. This morning, Lagerfeld celebrated this ultimate fantasy by creating a miniature (or, more accurately, a maximal?) version of the Chanel couture atelier within the gigantic Grand Palais gallery in Paris, replete with the house's actual petite mains who hand-stitched the garments, as models emerged around them.
The intimate audience, including Jessica Chastain, Will Smith, new Chanel face Willow Smith, Celine Dion, and Olivia Palermo, watched on from the edge of the "studio" as Edie Campbell opened the show in a boxy tweed suit with wide-legged cropped trousers and low-heeled, black suede boots. Campbell also closed the show, donning a final "wedding dress" look made of pink sequins; a frothy, feathery collar, and pink camellias.
Most Chanel shows end with Lagerfeld inviting the major Chanel face of the moment, like Cara Delevingne or Brad Kroenig and his son Hudson, to do the final walk with him. But this time around, Lagerfeld was joined by two chief couturiers from the atelier, a sign of gratitude and appreciation for his most unrecognized staffers.
In the grand scheme of things, this decision to bring out the makers (as opposed to the muse of the moment), may not seem particularly extraordinary. But, as we saw in the documentary Dior and I (and if you haven't seen, you must do so immediately), it's the seamstresses in the atelier who bring the magic of couture to life, though they mostly stay behind the scenes throughout the whole process. So, it was refreshing to see Lagerfeld put these artists front and center (on the runway, no less) and really celebrate the craftsmanship that couture is all about.