Dec 06, 2012 12:25PM

Chanel Métier d'Arts Runway Gallery

'Dressed to kilt' in Scotland.

It was minus three degrees and snowing on Tuesday night in Edinburgh, but that didn't stop Chanel from putting on an extravagant show in the palatial ruins of Linlithgow Palace for the annual Metier d'Arts presentation. 

Guests were seated outdoors (the castle has no roof), but they rugged up under Chanel blankets and drank whiskey to keep warm — as one presumably does in Scottish castles. The collection (which is essentially pre-fall 2013) was opulently romantic and very Scottish: models were wrapped in wool layers of tartan and tweed, and wearing knitwear in argyle and Fair Isle patterns. The reference could have gone one of two ways, though thankfully it was much more Elizabeth than Braveheart — there was some serous bling and even the hair was Elizabethan by design, pilled high and teased like a poodle. 
 
Rather than crediting Elizabeth I, Karl told the BBC that he took inspiration from another infamous woman of that time, Mary, Queen of Scots, who was actually born in the castle. "I like the idea of Mary Stewart, as the former queen of France, who became a fashion icon of another period, and then Chanel, who was a kind of queen of fashion too ... I like the idea of those two women involved with Scotland in two very different ways." 
 
Although this was reportedly Karl's first visit to Scotland, Coco spent a lot of time there with her lover the Duke of Westminster and developed a lifelong love for tweed, knitwear and plus fours. Recently Chanel's Métier d'Arts— which was set up to preserve specialist artisan ateliers — acquired a cashmere mill and a knitwear factory in Scotland. Perhaps this was another determinant for the choice of location. 
 
After the show guests were treated to a banquet and (despite the cold) all reactions to the night were resoundingly ecstatic, including Karl's. "What I saw on the screen was exactly what I wanted, perhaps I should have wanted something else? But there was nothing else... No second option; I am not a second option person," he told the BBC. 
 

Alice Cavanagh


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