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Dallas D’Art

Karl Lagerfeld brings double-C style to Dallas with his Métiers d’Art Collection.

A look at the delicate work of costume jewelery- and button-maker Maison Desrues, one of Chanel’s 10 Ateliers d’Art

 

The handiwork of goldsmiths and silversmiths at Maison Goossens

 

The detailed ornamentation work of Maison Desrues

 

The detailed ornamentation work of Maison Desrues

 

The inspiration behind it all, Coco Chanel (middle), on a visit to Dallas

 

Every December for 10 years, the famed French fashion house of Chanel packs up its $5,000 hand-frayed boucle suits, $3,000 quilted leather bags and strands-on-strands-on-strands of pearls, and hits the road for Artistic Director (and all-around fashion god) Karl Lagerfeld’s tour of the label’s Métiers d’Art Collection—loosely translated to “arts and crafts.”

Lagerfeld designed the limited-edition ready-to-wear line, available in select Chanel boutiques worldwide in May, specifically to highlight the work of 10 artisan ateliers owned by the company, including costume jewelers; makers of buttons, feathers and flowers; milliners; cobblers; embroiderers; glove-makers; and even pleaters. The yearly theme—and the reason for the road show—is the city where the collection is shown, with Tokyo, New York, Monte Carlo, London, Moscow, Shanghai, Byzance, Bombay and Scotland all having had the honor. The shows are cultural events. There have been lavish Indian feasts during which the models walked around massive banquet tables. One year, in Monte Carlo, Lagerfeld’s couture models stormed the halls of a 19th century opera house. Last year, he even took over the ruins of Linlithgow Palace in Scotland. But now, on Dec. 10, his tour hits Dallas’ historic Fair Park.

Why Dallas? Loyalty goes a long way with Mr. Lagerfeld. “When Chanel reopened [after World War II], the French press was beyond nasty,” he told reporters at a Women’s Wear Daily event. But, he added, “Dallas-based luxury retailer Neiman Marcus was very supportive.” He knows how to repay a favor. “So I think it’s a nice thing to go there,” he said. Plus, he confessed in a WWD story, “I love Texas. I love Texans.” In fact, the show will open with the debut of The Return, a short film retracing Gabrielle Chanel’s steps as she reopens her rue Cambon couture house in 1954—maybe Dallas makes an appearance?

And there’s little doubt that Texans love Chanel in return. Gene Jones and Charlotte Jones Anderson are such loyal customers that Chanel flew the mom and daughter to Paris in February for the show, ushered them to premier seats, wined and dined them at Caviar Kaspia and treated them to afternoon tea at Coco Chanel’s apartment. “What an unforgettable experience!” enthuses Anderson. “There is no greater style or service than Chanel.”

Few fashion storytellers are better than Lagerfeld—and he knows Texas will help him write a compelling chapter for his latest Métiers d’Art Collection. Will there be cowboy hats come Dec. 10? Will there be boots? Will there be Joneses and Basses and Roses and Fords? The answer is yes all around—and plenty of good tales, too.  

“I can understand why Dallas loves Chanel,” adds the often Chanel-ed-out real estate agent Erin Mathews. “We love to dress up. Looking good is our theme song! Who better to make that happen than Karl Lagerfeld?”