Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is to decorate couturier Karl Lagerfeld with a Grand Vermeil medal, the highest distinction the city can offer in a merit system established in 1911 to recognize remarkable achievements in the service of the French capital.
That includes the recent cruise show in May, reaffirming Lagerfeld’s attachment to the city and its importance for fashion.
In December, Lagerfeld and Chanel privatized the Ritz Paris and staged three shows for the Métiers d’Art collection, a pre-fall range of ready-to-wear embellished by the specialty couture ateliers that Chanel owns. The designer dubbed it “Paris Cosmopolite” to evoke a time when elegant women from the world over converged on the mythic Place Vendôme hotel, established in 1898.
The Rue Cambon house has been a pioneer in staging itinerant shows and has taken its cruise collection as far afield as Seoul and Havana and its Métiers d’Art collection to Dallas, Edinburgh and Salzburg. Lagerfeld typically uses each destination to exalt a facet of the house’s lore — or to invent a new chapter.
But Paris remains a key font of inspiration for the designer, whose Métiers d’Art effort for Chanel in December 2015 was themed “Paris in Rome.” Staged at Cinecittà film studio No. 5, it boasted a transporting black-and-white streetscape that elicited a strong emotional tug as the show fell only weeks after the deadly terror attacks in cafés and concert halls that sent Paris reeling, spooking tourists.
Last fall, Hidalgo hosted a lunch for top editors during fashion week and solicited suggestions to lure visitors back. Among the ideas was for French houses to scale back destination shows and bring their elite audience of press and clients to Paris.
Couture week in Paris kicks off Sunday and winds up on Thursday.