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“There’s an old German line,” Karl Lagerfeld said, ensconced in a corner banquette in the lobby lounge of the Mercer Hotel on Monday. “It’s one of my favorite lines that goes, ‘no credit on the past.’”

Tell that to the legions of guests — celebrities, press and rabid clients turned out to the hilt in their tweeded, embroidered, braid-trimmed regalia— who showed up for Chanel’s Métiers d’Art show tonight. The crowd’s diversity reflected the range of Chanel’s appeal; the celeb contingent alone included Julianne Moore, Beyoncé, Pharrell Williams, Dakota Johnson, Vanessa Paradis with daughter Lily-Rose Depp, Patti Smith, Geraldine Chaplin, Lily Collins and the singer Banks, all lured by the promise of Salzburg on Park, Chanel style.

They settled in for a gleeful fashion romp. The point of this particular annual affair is to highlight the exquisite work of Chanel’s Métiers d’Art companies, so the looks were lavishly worked, featuring intricate Lesage embroideries, jewelry-like buttons from Desrues, Lemarié feathers and flowers and ultra-tony accessories— Massaro shoes and Causse gloves. The lineup referenced lederhosen, Tyrolean ribbon work, even the dreaded dirndl, without folkloric folly and with plenty of Chanel chic. But then, Coco herself pilfered the idea of her iconic, four-pocket jacket from the uniform of the elevator operator at Salzburg’s Mittersill hotel.

“I loved it,” said a suddenly press shy Dakota Johnson post show.

“I really felt like I was in Salzburg, watching it from the couch of an old atelier,” Lily Collins said

“Wasn’t it magical? This was my first Chanel show. It was like a theatrical performance,” Nicola Peltz said.

The show was all old news to Lagerfeld, though. It was a rare redux for the pathologically forward-minded designer, who first presented it in December at the Rococo Palace Schloss Leopoldskron. Though admittedly more concerned with upcoming extravaganzas (he’ll show Chanel cruise in Seoul on May 4th and even has the next Métiers locale secured — Ciao, Roma!) he came to New York, a nod to the merits of a mega marketing opportunity in a hot market. Given fashion’s current reality, Lagerfeld believes in thinking big – very big. While he noted that “no one can rebuild the 18th century,” he ordered the Armory transformed into a labyrinth of palatial golden walls decorated with crisp moldings under the glow of massive crystal chandeliers.

“You have to do your shows with the big sets today,” he said. “You have to give something visual. Because girls coming out on a runway— there’s nothing wrong; it’s interesting for people in fashion. But for the rest of the world who buys the nail polish, the lipstick for a global label, it’s a problem to show something that looks [plain]. That’s our time…You have to adapt, we have to adapt. I am an opportunist so I adapt easy. A professional opportunist. One has to be.”

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