Chanel’s haute couture runway show is the magnum opus of fashion, the Venetian ball of the 21st century, and truly a modern fairytale that very few will ever get to see in real life. That, however, does not undermine the work, effort, and talent that goes into putting together such a spectacle. For the first time, Netflix’s “7 Days Out” director Andrew Ross got unprecedented access to all of the show’s preparations for a 45-minute episode dedicated to the fashion house. From all the behind-the-scenes to Karl Lagerfeld being a total diva, we finally have access to the entire process of building a true one-of-a-kind show at Le Grand Palais.
What could be more Parisian, and more French than haute couture? For the Spring-Summer 2018 Haute Couture show depicted in the documentary, Lagerfeld was inspired by the Versailles gardens, and so it was those gardens with their perfectly manicured lawns and roses that were then built at Le Grand Palais just days before showtime. (In previous years the crew has built spaceships, waterfalls, and even a beach there.) Lagerfeld is not at all gentle in describing his dresses, calling one “old snow,” but his most sincere moment comes when he says that couture is intrinsically Parisian and no other, and that is exactly why most of Chanel’s shows are inspired by the capital.
While on the outside Fashion Week seems super sleek and glamorous, in the documentary we can see that the everyone behind the scenes does not sleep nights before the show (literally). Lagerfeld may be the one who sends his atelier rough sketches, but the seamstresses are the ones to bring them to life before he comes in to critique everything. This team of women, as Lagerfeld admits himself, is crucial to the outcome. It’s them who will wait late into the night for the arrival of a feathered skirt for the final wedding gown or sew on pieces of embroidered flowers non-stop until Lagerfeld decides it’s enough flowers.
The documentary also showcases the French savoir-faire. One of the seamstresses explains that her mother and grandmother were both also in the industry, and obviously, she followed suit. Each woman, every single person in the process, is entirely dedicated to doing this one thing as their career, possibly forever, even though Lagerfeld gets the final credit.
Take Virginie Viard, the fashion studio director at Chanel, who is one of the essential cogs there. She makes the final calls and can make anything happen if necessary. This year for the Fall-Winter 2019 show, Lagerfeld did not even show up instead sending Viard for the final bow. But her name will never be fêted by general public.
At the end of the day, couture is so out of reach that it is an art of its own, and this chance to see how people dedicate their life to art in “7 Days Out” is unlike any other.
Featured image: Stock Photos from antoniobarrosfr/Shutterstock