Chanel Fashion President Bruno Pavlovsky is filled with optimism as the iconic brand prepares for growth in 2022. The unveiling of Chanel’s latest Métiers d’Art collection in the brand new 19M crafts center marks a significant moment for the fashion house. Despite challenges brought on by the global pandemic, Chanel now has an opportunity to showcase its new couture and fashion skills center.

During a recent Zoom call, Pavlovsky acknowledged that the upcoming year may still present challenges due to ongoing uncertainty surrounding sanitary conditions. Nevertheless, he remains optimistic, thanks to Chanel’s focus on its loyal customer base. The brand’s commitment to its local customers has resulted in double-digit growth in every country. Despite the unpredictable nature of tourism, Chanel has been successful in attracting and retaining its customer base.

On Tuesday, creative director Virginie Viard will unveil the latest Métiers d’Art collection, which happens to be the 20th collection in Chanel’s history. Métiers d’Art is a unique blend of luxury ready-to-wear and couture elements exclusive to Chanel. This show, traditionally held in the first week of December, is seen as the culmination of major fashion house catwalk events.

Last year, due to Covid-19 restrictions, Viard presented the Métiers d’Art collection through a show video set at the Chateau de Chenonceau in the Loire Valley. Despite the absence of a live audience, the collection achieved an impressive sell-through rate of 95 to 96 percent. Pavlovsky hopes that the 20th collection will surpass previous records. He recognizes the success of Chanel’s storytelling through different formats, including runway shows and videos, which have attracted customers to the brand.

Pavlovsky finds it intriguing that other couture houses have not followed Chanel’s lead in creating their own Métiers d’Art collections. He attributes Chanel’s success in this area to the brand’s long-standing partnerships with various craftsmen and artisans. The collaboration between Chanel’s studio and these individuals is instrumental in the creation of the brand’s 10 collections per year. By working closely with different craftspeople, Chanel ensures its longevity and adaptability to different fashion visions.

The newly built 19M center, named after its arrondissement and métiers, is an impressive facility designed by architect Rudy Ricciotti. It brings together 600 professionals skilled in embroidery, bootmaking, millinery, pleat-making, and feather supply. The building’s innovative design features five floors finished with white metal tentacles, symbolizing the threads of craftsmanship. Additionally, 19M collaborates with over 40 brands, including rivals such as Givenchy and contemporary couturiers like Alexandre Vauthier.

When acquiring a Métiers d’Art supplier, Chanel seeks authentic engagement and a strong atelier. The brand values craftsmanship, expertise, and a commitment to continued contribution. Chanel’s acquisition of Barrie, a Scottish cashmere specialist, has resulted in a doubling of staff and a significant increase in output. The brand also remains interested in acquiring new resources, particularly in textiles and materials, as sustainable sourcing becomes increasingly challenging.

Pavlovsky emphasizes the importance of sustainability and responsible sourcing in the fashion industry. Chanel recently acquired Italian fine knitwear maker Paima and French leather goods specialist Ateliers De May. The brand is also exploring opportunities in the digital realm, including NFTs and the metaverse. Pavlovsky notes that Chanel has successfully integrated blockchain technology into its manufacturing process, and the brand plans to make its own contribution to the metaverse when the time is right.

Although Chanel has faced criticism on social media platforms like TikTok, Pavlovsky stands by the brand’s decisions. He explains that the advent calendar, which received backlash from some customers, was designed with sustainability in mind. Despite the challenges, Chanel has not imposed new limitations on product sales in any country. The brand experienced inventory shortages due to the pandemic but plans to restock in order to meet the demand.

Overall, Pavlovsky is enthusiastic about Chanel’s future, particularly with the launch of the 19M crafts center. He describes the facility as a haven for young, artistic, and passionate individuals committed to their craft. The center embraces technology, such as 3D printers and simulators, to push the boundaries of creativity. 19M represents Chanel’s dedication to preserving its heritage while embracing innovation and ensuring the best working conditions for its talented artisans.

Useful links:
Chanel Métiers d’Art Collection
Inside Chanel’s 19M Crafts Center