Photo for: Vogue Italia by Stefano Coletti
The CHANEL Fall-Winter 2015/16 Fashion Show was called the Brasserie Gabrielle because it was filled with croissants, tweed jackets, waiters, logo tiled floors and was a full on Brasserie at the Grand Palais in Paris. When we walked in, we were greeted by Parisian waiters who welcomed us with opened arms. There were tables set up with place cards, orange juice and a full on bar serving cappuccino's and hard boiled eggs. We all took our seats and the show was about to start. Models casually walked the runway and took their seats at tables and were being served by the waiters. It was interactive and we loved how Kendall Jenner high-fived Cara Delevinge as they passed each other on the runway. The models used selfie sticks during the show to capture the moment and the waiters walked throughout the show as the models hung up their jackets and sat down to read the newspaper. It was the perfect CHANEL Brasserie that only Karl could dream up. The accessories were amazing! We were screaming over the plate bags and a CHANEL bag with mini spoons and forks all over it. One of our favorite tweed jackets was made with organza and feathers. The tuxedo dresses and the mini tile skirts and tile Boy bags were out of this world. After the show the models continued to sit there and the crowd jumped in to take pictures with them and experience the CHANEL Brasserie together. It was a brilliant show and we loved how Karl was doing interviews behind the bar and was serving grapefruit juice... Bravo! Later that day, we went to Coco's Apartment and the next day we spent it outside of Paris and went to the CHANEL Factory. We had such a special and fun fitting at the Boutique before the show and we wore all CHANEL to the show! Our 3 days with CHANEL were so epic! Check out our #DiscoverCHANEL #BeckermansxCHANEL experience below!
Coco's Apartment- It was a dream to be invited to Coco's apartment, the same building where she was a licenced hat maker and she opened her first store in 1910. A place where she used to have fashion shows (models walking down the stairs) is now the famous CHANEL Rue Cambon location. The panelled mirrored walls makes it very dramatic and also let her see the fashion shows as they were happening. The staircase is now part of the National Heritage. There are four levels: the ground floor is the CHANEL shop, the second floor is her apartment, the third floor is her studio and the fourth floor is the workshop for Haute Couture. Just seeing and going up the original Art Deco staircase from 1920's gave us goosebumps. It's so iconic and filled with so many memories of CHANEL fashion shows. You can really feel her energy because its filled with her creativity and her most favorite things. As we entered into her apartment, it was filled with these amazing Chinese folding screens on the walls. Her large white armchair that she used to lounge in was in pristine condition. Coco bought the folding screens in auctions from the 18th century and she used them as wallpaper to give the room a dramatic yet cozy feeling. The symbols on the screens have cranes that represent life, and pine trees that stay green all year long. The walls were also painted gold so that the apartment glows from the inside and the atmosphere feels very warm and bright. The room was also accentuated with mirrors and lights. In her living room, there is a super cozy quilted brown suede couch that is so inviting! Around the room there are little figurines of lions, wheat, statues, and two of almost everything. She was very into symmetry and having two mirrors, two lamps, and two statues so that a room looked balanced. We said, having two of everything is fabulous because it's great for twins! LOL! Even the chandelier had the number 5 in it with 2 C's, if you looked closely at the wrought iron. Everything in the room, has a purpose and is there because it meant something to Coco and has sentimental value. She spent a lot of time in these rooms but did not sleep here because her sleeping quarters were across the street at the Ritz hotel. We found the dining room so intimate because you could imagine her having dinner parties with her close friends. There is so much love and good energy in Coco's apartment, that we really did feel like one of her friends when we left! It was an experience of a lifetime!
The CHANEL Factory- This was one of the most amazing experiences we have ever had! We drove outside of Paris and visited the CHANEL Factory which is the backstage world of CHANEL. It was the first time CHANEL invited bloggers to come visit and it truly was an honor to be one of the first. When we got there, we were invited to snack on croissants and coffee before heading through the rooms of the different phases of development. We were jumping out of our skin with excitement, as we saw prototypes hanging on hangers and hand sewers sewing on the finishing touches. The different rooms is where all the magic happens...from the design process room to the raw material room and then to the cutting room. But what we felt throughout each of these rooms was the passion that the people who work for CHANEL have. Everyone was smiling and happy and extremely passionate about what they were making. It was contagious!
The Development phase: This was the first room we walked in to! It is the room where the drawings and illustrations get made in to prototypes. They get made into neutral fabrics and then into actual fabric. It's the development area for the illustrators. Six collections are made per year and so they have one of these processes every two months. Things are always very busy before the show and there are racks and racks of bags in this room. The prototypes that are made in a neutral fabric have notes on them. CHANEL is known for their infinite design because they can make anything! So its all about good communication in the developmental phase.
Work Room: CHANEL develops tools and templates in this room to manufacture them. After the prototype is made, it then goes through quality control. It has to be perfect.
Raw Materials Room: This room had lots of leathers and exotic skins. It also had rolls and rolls of iconic CHANEL chain and piping. This is the room where they need to move quickly because sometimes bags have to be designed in one day. At the CHANEL show that we were at the previous day, they told us that some of the bags were made in one day. They need to be able to have a quick turn around. So this room is for that. They can use the leathers, skins and trims from this room. The leathers and skins include: Lamb, Alligator, Bunny, Stingray, Python, Iguana, and Snakes.
Production State: This large room stores the leathers for production. The leather is constantly checked by suppliers and people who work for CHANEL for quality control. They are making sure the leathers are perfect before production. In order to do this, they look at the leathers under a daylight lamp. It helps ensure that there are no imperfections in the leather. It's also very important to touch the leather and to feel it with your hands. In this process, we could see the love and passion that goes in to making a CHANEL bag. The leathers are just the most beautiful skins we have ever seen.
Hardware Room: We then went to the Hardware room and this is where they check all the closures. Like the iconic closures on bags. There were trays of them and they were making sure all of them were 100% perfect. They also look at all the chains and the leather is tested in the back room in this big machine. This machine puts the leather through different climatic conditions testing with or without pollution.
Cutting Room: There were some big machines in this room! lol! There are three ways to cut leather/skins: Manual, Machine and Tools. The first is the Manual way, which is how they cut the Alligator bags because it is by hand. The second is Machine which is done digitally. The knife is positioned by the computer as it cuts the leather. The third way to cut the leather is by Tools. These are the silver tools (the tools look like a silver frame) that are positioned on the tweed as it cuts. It's really amazing because there are 180 operations for one bag from start to finish!
Work Room: There are various workrooms in the factory. The next work room we went in to they were assembling sophisticated bags like the Alligator ones. The Alligator bags are so sensitive to water that the people who are assembling them have to wear face masks and gloves. They also put saran wrap (plastic wrap) on the alligator to protect it in between each phase. This is so that no water marks drop on to the skins. It is handled like this, so that it is perfect for quality control. Some of the leathers also go through a machine that cut and flattens it. It essentially splits the leathers to make it easier to assemble, because it makes the leather more flexible. It is then taken to a production area in the work room where the double CC's are sewn inside of the bag. This is the only automatic operation when the bag is being put together. The rest is done by hand. We learned that there are two techniques to put together a CHANEL bag: there is the inside out technique and the mold technique. The inside out technique starts with a flap and the inside of the bag is actually on the outside. The inside lining is then dropped in, top-stitched, and then the bag is flipped out. Its made like a Ready to Wear clothing technique. The Mold technique is used for polished leathers. It is when a gusset (the side panel) is stitched on. The handling of this technique is extremely detailed and extremely important.
Then we went to another room that was creating The Girl Bag! OMG! This bag is one of CHANEL's newest hottest, It bag! It can be worn around the waist, cross body or around your back. This Girl bag had its own work room. First a lining is created and then the position of the zipper for the bag is then positioned. This bag is created like a piece of clothing. It has sleeves that tie up in a knot and hammered out, so that the seems are flat. There are individual tables for sleeves where they are put on and a table for bodies. On the body table, the buttons are positioned and sewn in that room. This bag is seriously amazing and its definitely our next "It" bag.
Product Control: The product control room has special lighting and a high success rate, because CHANEL has such high standards when it comes to quality control. During the assembly of each bag, there is so much attention to detail, that each bag is always made to perfection before shipped to the stores.There are of course more rooms in the factory but we just highlighted a few of the rooms that we went in to. It was the experience of a lifetime! After seeing all that love that goes into making just one handbag...it made us appreciate the bags even more! We didn't know it was possible to love CHANEL bags more than we do... (lol!) It was a brilliant tour of the CHANEL factory and we felt so honored to learn all about the design process and to meet the artisans, who love what they do!
We had the best three days with @chanelofficial We went to the #BrasserieGabrielle Show, to Coco's apartment and to the Chanel Factory to see how the bags are made! It was the most unbelievable experience! Check the blog to see our amazing journey! #BeckermansxChanel www.BeckermanBlog.com #beckermanvideo 🎥
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