Coco Chanel — “Back in Dallas” - Neiman Marcus

Coco Chanel — “Back in Dallas”

Alexandra Evjen

December 11, 2013


Fashion’s spotlight shined bright last night-not in New York or Paris-but in the heart of Texas where CHANEL hosted its 2013-2014 Metiers d’Art fashion show.

For the one-night-only affair, Chanel gave an over-the-top makeover to the Art Deco splendor of Dallas’ historic Fair Park, transforming it into a vintage drive-in, a barnyard, and a riotous honky-tonk.

For over a decade, the Metiers d’Art show has been an annual runway extravaganza. Each year, the host city and overall theme reference a significant moment in CHANEL history and showcase the handiwork of its many couture ateliers. In past years, it has taken place in cities such as London, Tokyo, and Shanghai. This year, Dallas was selected because of its importance in the years following the 1954 relaunch of Coco Chanel’s couture business after a fifteen-year hiatus. Her initial collections were largely shunned by postwar Europe. Instead, it was America-in particular Texas’ blossoming luxury market thanks to Stanley Marcus – that became her earliest adopter. Last night was a tribute to the city that embraced her, according to Karl Lagerfeld.

This pivotal time in CHANEL history is chronicled in The Return, a short film written and directed by Lagerfeld and starring Geraldine Chaplin as Gabrielle Chanel. It premiered last night at the start of the festivities in a elaborately staged drive-in theater. Guests munched movie snacks and sipped colas through straws as VIPs slid into about 80 stunning, classic cars. Dakota Fanning was behind the wheel of one convertible as Kristen Stewart sat shotgun. A few cars down, Lagerfeld climbed into a black Cadillac with Vogue’s Anna Wintour and Andre Leon Talley.

After the film, it was straight to Centennial Hall, outfitted as a hay-strewn barn, for the runway show and an after-party for celeb guests including Lauren Hutton, Zoë Kravitz, Lily Collins and it-girls Alexa Chung and Poppy Delevingne, as well as fashion A-listers and Karl’s entourage. And though the night’s highlights included everything from two-stepping models to a mechanical bull, it was the fashion that owned the night.

Lagerfeld found his inspiration for the collection in the American West, spiking it with Native American influences. Saddle-blanket prints paired perfectly with fringed tweed and chambray. Rustic cowboy hats and boots grounded airy prairie skirts and sequined tunics. Lone feathers were pinned into the models’ hair and their faces were adorned in a futuristic gold paint. With tiers of delicate lace, hand-stitched beading, bejeweled buttons embellishing every piece of the collection, the atelier craftsmanship was palpable.

It’s been fifty-five years since Coco Chanel arrived in Dallas to receive the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion. During his stay, Lagerfeld will receive the same award inside the Downtown Dallas store. This award, along with the wild applause from last night’s crowd, proves Dallas still eagerly welcomes the best of what the fashion world has to offer.

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