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Chanel, a renowned French fashion brand, turned the streets of Manchester into a high-end runway for its annual Métiers d’Art fashion show.
Celebrities Kristen Stewart, Hugh Grant, and Tilda Swinton were in attendance at the event, shielded from the rain by a large perspex canopy installed over Thomas Street specifically for the occasion.
The yearly Chanel collection, called the Métiers d’Art and translated as “art professions”, celebrates the independent workshops that Chanel acquired starting in 1984. It is created to showcase the company’s commitment to preserving the artistry associated with French luxury.
The event changes its location every year, with past cities including New York, Rome, Dakar, Salzburg, Dallas, and its home base. The last time the event was held in the UK was in 2012 at Linlithgow Castle in Scotland.
According to Bruno Pavlovsky, the president of fashion at Chanel, the city of Manchester’s rich musical history and vibrant creative atmosphere were the main factors that drew the attention of Chanel executives.
“Too many things happen in London and we wanted to be in the UK out of London,” he said. “We decided to come to Manchester because it was the most inspiring for Virginie [Viard, creative director]. She was inspired by the music and art that she sees here in Manchester, and we’ve had a warm welcome.”
Chanel was clearly interested in acknowledging its new setting: the soundtrack of the show was curated with Manchester-based artists, including popular bands like The Fall and New Order, as well as current local rappers like Aitch and Bugzy Malone.
Gene, 22, and Lennon, 24, the two sons of Liam Gallagher, were present at the event along with Anais, 23, the daughter of Noel Gallagher, unlike their parents who had a history of sibling rivalry.
During the fashion show, the models sported tweed baker boy caps paired with pastel-colored suits and flat Mary Jane shoes, in line with Chanel’s signature ladylike suit style that was first introduced and made popular in the 1950s.
Coco Chanel discovered tweed jackets while staying at her lover, the Duke of Westminster’s country home in Cheshire. She was so enamored with the fabric that she brought it back to Paris and used it in her iconic tweed suits, which became a signature of her fashion house when she relaunched it in 1953 at the age of 70 after a 14-year break from the industry.
According to the BBC, Chanel has provided compensation to businesses in Manchester affected by their catwalk event. However, some nearby shops and pubs were forced to shut down for a period of two weeks as the company began preparations for the event.
Manchester City’s cabinet member for culture, Councillor Luthfur Rahman, has not revealed the amount paid by the firm to the city. However, he did mention that the firm has invested in the city and emphasized the positive impact the event will have on the local economy.
He stated that Chanel’s decision to come to Manchester shows that we are on the right track. He also mentioned that the show is beneficial for the city’s goal of becoming a worldwide destination.
Some members of the community believed that the extravagant fashion event, which is believed to have been extremely expensive, was not a wise decision considering the financial struggles faced by many residents due to the rising cost of living. A protester held a sign demanding that the city council prioritize essential needs over luxury items, stating “We need food and heat, not luxury goods.”