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Chanel pushes city-specific collection via castle spectacle

November 15, 2012


French fashion house Chanel is showing its Métiers d'Art Collection in a Scottish castle to flaunt the inspiration behind the pieces from the brand's history in the country.

Karl Lagerfeld is dedicating his annual read-to-wear collection to Scottish culture and the craftsmanship of tweed and cashmere since the brand recently acquired Scottish cashmere mill Barrie Knitwear. This collection will debut Dec. 4 at the Linlithgow Palace near Edinburgh.

“The castle provides a mystical backdrop for the collection that is said to be heavy with tweeds and knitwear,” said Chris Ramey, president of Affluent Insights, Miami. “The location reinforces the product and the brand.

“The acquisition of Barrie Knitwear is indicative of luxury brands going vertical,” he said. “Barrie Knitwear has been making Chanel cashmere cardigans for decades.”

Mr. Ramey is not affiliated with Chanel, but agreed to comment as an industry expert.

Chanel declined to comment.

Worldwide influence

Mr. Lagerfeld will showcase craftsmanship and the city of Edinburgh in this year’s read-to-wear collection.

The acquisition of Barrie Knitwear and the role of Scottish cashmere and tweed inspired the location for this collection, per Chanel.

The collection honors artists such as costume jeweler Desrues, feather dresser Lemarié, embroiderer Maison Lesage, shoemaker Massaro, hatmaker Auguste Michel, goldsmith Goossens, floral finery maker Guillet, , embroiderer Atelier Montex and glovemaker Causse.

The line has previously been inspired by international cultures and cities that are part of the brand’s history such as Tokyo, New York , Monte-Carlo, London, Moscow, Shanghi, Byzance and Bombay (now Mumbai).

Mr. Lagerfeld has been creating the annual Métiers d'Art Collection since 2002.

Ready-to-wear Web site

Meanwhile, Chanel has been furthering its worldwide presence through its Little Black Jacket exhibit displayed in a number of cities around the world.

The exhibit is based on the book, “The Little Black Jacket," Chanel’s classic revisited by Mr. Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld (see story).

Craftsmanship in cashmere

Chanel recently announced that it acquired Barrie Knitwear, a manufacturer of Scottish cashmere in Hawick, Scotland.

The cashmere mill has been an integral part of the Chanel brand for more than 25 years.

Barrie Knitwear helped Chanel create the iconic cardigans. The cashmere cardigans are a staple in the Chanel collections.

Mr. Lagerfeld selected Edinburgh as the city to show off the Métiers d'Art Collection because of the connection Chanel has with Scotland and integration of Scottish cashmere in its collections.

Chanel sweaters

Linlithgow Palace was the original home of royals and the birthplace of Mary, Queen of Scots. The castle is now mostly ruins.

“Successful luxury brands leverage their DNA and point of view,” Mr. Ramey said. “The acquisition secures the supply channel.

“But the DNA including the country from where the product is created, the artisanship involved and the cashmere as a fabric are what the customers purchase,” he said.

Final take

Erin Shea, editorial assistant on Luxury Daily, New York