Chanel Métiers d'Art 2016

INFLUENCER AWARD: The French government recognized Chanel for its commitment to supporting craftsmanship at an awards ceremony held during Paris Fashion Week.

Bruno Pavlovsy, Chanel’s president of fashion and president of its Paraffection subsidiary, which controls 26 specialty ateliers, accepted the prize for economic influence at the Grand Prix du Rayonnement Français awards, held in the presence of Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian on Tuesday night.

The audience of politicians, business leaders and creatives included Virginie Viard, fashion studio director at Chanel; Eric Pfrunder, image director at Chanel; Anna Wintour, editor in chief of U.S. Vogue, and Marie-Louise de Clermont-Tonnerre, a longtime communications executive at the house, who also sat on the jury.

In his acceptance speech, Pavlovsky noted that Chanel’s collaborations with artisans date back to founder Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, who worked with Massaro on the production of her signature two-tone shoe, jeweler Goossens for her costume jewelry, and Lemarié on the camellias that are an emblem of the house.

“For these houses, it is as much about heritage and preserving cultural and technical knowledge as it is about resolutely looking ahead. To that end, these skilled artisans are permanently innovating, recruiting and reinventing their trades and techniques in the service of creation and a French know-how that is valued worldwide,” he said.

He added that Chanel’s creative director Karl Lagerfeld constantly pushes the craftsmen to outdo themselves, namely with the launch of a dedicated Métiers d’Art collection in 2002. “He gives them the possibility to deploy all the facets of their exceptional know-how by executing his designs,” Pavlovsky said.

In the gilded reception rooms of the Foreign Ministry, where the ceremony took place, a representative from Lemarié demonstrated how she uses a hot metal tool to curl the petals that go into making Chanel’s signature camellias. At a Lesage stand, visitors were encouraged to play with sequins and other decorative elements.

Chanel last month kicked off construction on a new building for its specialty ateliers north of Paris. With a surface of close to 275,000 square feet, the building near Porte d’Aubervilliers will house creative and production workshops in a striking structure designed by award-winning architect Rudy Ricciotti.

Through the project, Chanel hopes to contribute to the influence of Paris as the capital of fashion.

The brainchild of French senator Joëlle Garriaud-Maylam, the Grand Prix du Rayonnement Français was launched in 2009 to reward individuals and companies who promote French values overseas.

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