Chanel Showcases French Luxury Crafts at New Atelier Complex

In a sign of the French luxury sector’s booming fortunes, Chanel will on Thursday inaugurate a huge complex of ateliers where artisans from around a dozen accessory suppliers create shoes, embroidery and other handmade crafts.

Pent-up demand from international buyers eager after months of lockdown to splash out on fine clothes and accessories from the birthplace of haute couture — or at least stamped with the logo of one of France’s famous fashion houses — has turned the sector into one of the country’s leading exporters.

With an eye towards harnessing this growth spurt by fostering collaborative work, Chanel has grouped around 600 craftsmen together over seven floors, including two below ground, at the site in a working-class Paris suburb.

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The craft houses represented, each with its own specialisation, include lingerie label Eres, interior decoration Lesage Interieurs and jewellery maker Goossens.

“When we need to work with, say the jeweller Goossens, we won’t have to cross all of Paris for that, we knock on the door next door and we’re set,” said Hubert Barrère, artistic director of lacework specialist Maison Lesage.

“Same for feathers… This is an extraordinary gain for creativity and synergies.”

President Emmanuel Macron will visit later on Thursday as part of the official inauguration of the complex on the edge of the capital’s 19th arrondissement, known as 19M and also including an exhibition space open to the public.

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Macron, gearing up for a presidential election in April though yet to officially declare his candidacy, showed support for the fashion industry early on in his presidency, inviting designers to the presidential palace for dinner before the pandemic hit.

Out of 600,000 workers in the industry, 130,000 are employed in crafts-related jobs, according to estimates from the presidential office.

By Mimosa Spencer; Editors: Gwladys Fouche and John Stonestreet

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