Chanel gathers craftsmenChanel, the hallmark of luxury, has become even more luxurious.
This has been true since last year, when Karl Lagerfeld, the creative force behind the French fashion house, announced the purchase of five French companies and named the new group “Satellites.”
Chanel’s timeless signature designs ― cashmere sweaters featuring exquisite bead work, prized spectator pumps, camellia blossoms adorning jackets, bags and gowns, decorative accessories such as chains, hats and embroidery ― had been created by formerly independent supplier companies: Lesage for embroidery, Massaro for shoes, Michel for millinery, Lemarie for feathers and Desrues for costume jewelry.
The merger was made to honor these craftsmen and pay tribute to the trades, to preserve talent, innovation and quality and to signify a “commitment to these companies with which we have long shared high standards of quality, exclusivity and innovation,” according to Chanel.
Desrues, a costume jeweler who has worked on Chanel’s chains, buttons, necklaces, belts, brooches and clasps, found inspiration in Gabrielle Chanel’s own personal jewelry. There are 100 new styles engraved with Chanel’s signature double C each season.
Andre Lemarie is the only person in Paris who has maintained the century-long tradition of feather-making. Lemarie has incorporated feathers in fine fringes and tassels in Chanel’s wardrobes.
In the past, Lemarie has created a variety of camellia blossoms in various materials: tweed, leather, fur, satin, organdy and plastic. He recently made a blouse entirely of tiny pale pink tulle camellias that is regarded as one of Chanel’s masterpieces.
The Duchess of Windsor, Barbara Hutton, Elizabeth Taylor and Marlene Dietrich were all regular customers of the shoemaker Massaro, and it is said that no one could outdo the precision, invention and perfectionism of the Massaro family. Since 1958, Massaro has been close to Chanel. The latest Massaro project is creating tennis shoes for Chanel.
Established in 1936, Maison Michel, the hat maker, has been an authorized supplier of major fashion brands and is now part of Chanel. Incorporating the rarest materials, straw, nap, satin, fur, velvet and leather, the designer has shown the precision and passion of the hat-making tradition.
Francois Lesage still supplies all the great names of the fashion industry. Working with 65,000 samples, he has created the luxury of embroidery in French haute couture for the past 50 years, having become the most celebrated embroider in the fashion industry. He has recently set up an embroidery school to replenish the diminishing talent pool in France.
A recent Chanel collection of 33 designs dubbed “Satellite Love” by the five suppliers were unveiled in Chanel’s Haute Couture Salon on rue Cambon in Paris. To satisfy Chanel’s elite customers around the world, the entire collection will be offered at about 15 select boutiques in Europe, the United States and Asia.
The introduction of “Satellite Love” in Korea also marks Chanel Korea’s intent to satisfy its exclusive clientele. The limited-edition “Satellite Love” is currently available in the Chanel store in the Hyundai Department Store in Apgujeong-dong.
by Ines Cho