For years, I have been following the Chanel fashionhouse. I read every book about Chanel or Chanel couture and I even create the famous Chanel jackets myself, according to the strict rules of Haute couture (and my beloved Claire Schaeffer). My quilty pleasure ... in capitals!
But now, a new book. A real treasure! You can hardly give a bigger gift to a Chanel-fan like me. Figuratively but also literally. Because it is a big book. A beautiful coffee table book with a striking light blue front and a very appealing content. But different than the others, because it stands out among all the glossy Chanel books, which have been on the coffee table for some time.
The making of a Collection
The book is richly illustrated by Jean-Philipe Delhomee. No illustrations as a side issue, but drawings that are at least 3 to 1 in relation to the text. No photo in this book, not even on the inside flaps of the cover and back page. The illustrations are beautiful, cheerful and very modern. The text of Laetitia Cénac is easy to follow in English for people our Dutch readers. Pleasant letter font, written well and clearly arranged.
Who are the makers of a couture collection?
Apart from all information about the Fashion House Chanel, about Gabrielle Chanel, history and even a list of important dates (pages 234-238), the book is mainly about WHO makes Haute-couture. Every step, from the process of idea (even an interview with Karl Lagerfeld) till the catwalk. The book is mainly about people who all do their work, which contributes to the beautiful couture collections of Chanel.
The first pages are devoted to a fashion show. Before the first model with a beautiful Chanel jacket arrives on the catwalk, a lot has happened. Many people are already involved, who are an important part, but you have never thought about it for a second. Illustrations of the sound designer, the make-up artists, the fitting and dressing team, the stage manager etc. Presenting a collection is not a one-man show of a designer, but a well-oiled machine in which many people play a (big)role.
The book elaborates on this. Back to the very beginning; from fabric to Haute couture. Every part of the collection and the entire making process is discussed, from bags, shoes, gloves, hats, jewelry to fabrics, yarn and threads. There are many pages dedicated to how the materials are made, how choices are made and where and who supplies this material.
An ode to many people, to them all. To all people behind the products, to all people who cooperate or who are important suppliers of the basis for the Chanel collection.
From now on I look at the Chanel collections with even more interest. A superficial world? Opinions are divided on this. The fact is that it is a whole industry and that more people are involved than you might think.
A lot of glitter and glamor in this book, but strikingly enough, the emphasis is more on the entire creative process than on all the lavish luxury, the big money and the inaccessibility of Haute couture for ordinary people. This is mainly due to the modern, joy full drawings and the design of the book. Very well done, because in these times the environmental, climate and economic problems are too big to admit the money smelter of the upper class.
This book is an eye-opener that very cleverly emphasizes the old crafts, manual labor and all the people behind the scenes who do the work.
(Let's just hope that all these production processes will also be carried out in an environmentally friendly way and that they will be able to maintain themselves in the coming years. So that we can continue to enjoy the Chanel Haute couture)
At least I have enough inspiration to climb behind the sewing machine ... if I manage to put this book aside for a while.