Why each Chanel haute couture jacket takes 130 hours to make
Watch the work that goes into the making of Chanel's haute couture jacket, beginning with Karl Lagerfeld’s sketch and ending with hours of excellence in the work of the seamstress.
From Chanel’s long and illustrious fashion and beauty archives, live several legacies that we are pretty sure will never die. Who doesn’t recognise Chanel’s N°5 perfume or its two-tone shoes even after all these years since their creation?
Another Chanel piece that, without fail, sends women across the world scrambling for one is its haute couture jacket, a masterpiece born of one touch of Mademoiselle Chanel’s spirit, one stroke of Karl Lagerfeld’s genius and 130 hours of craftsmanship under the watchful eye of Madame Jacqueline, head seamstress of Chanel.
It is a unique jacket that effortlessly flows on the body, exuding modernity. It is more than just stylish. It is contemporary and classic, transcending time and trends -- a subtle luxury that can be felt but never fully defined.
How is it achieved? Watch the video above for an indepth look at the work that goes into its making, beginning with Karl Lagerfeld’s sketch and ending with hours of excellence in the work of the seamstress.
Like all the greatest ideas in the world, it begins with a simple sketch that turns a thought into something tangible by that of the great Karl Lagerfeld. No fewer than 30 measurements will be taken of the client to create the perfect jacket that fits just right in all the right places.
Eighteen pieces of Muslin model that will make up the jacket will then be painstakingly drawn, measured, cut and pinned onto a stockman mannequin. These will be subjected to the scrutiny of Lagerfeld who has to approve the cuts and measurement before the next step can be carried out.
Once he approves it, production starts. Black tweed comes together with black silk satin lining to present the first form of the jacket, basted and stitched by hand of course. Details are not missed – special trims and buttons have been created uniquely for this design and buttonholes are hand-stitched.
No less than 2 fittings will be made, with the jacket flown out from Paris to Hong Kong, London, New York and Dubai to be tried on clients. The jacket will always make it back to Paris for final alterations (because haute couture only happens in Paris) to ensure fit is perfect and comfort is uncompromised while keeping faithful to the soul of the jacket.
Even after the jacket is done being hand-stiched together, the work is not yet finished. Little details that make it shine are seen to, like the laying of the trims to accentuate the shape of the jacket; sewing on the button for the perfect match with the holes; and including a cigarette – a 2cm long piece of fabric – into the shoulders to secure the shape. A chain is also placed at the bottom of the inside lining to weigh down the jacket for the perfect fall.
When the final jacket is complete, it is lined with tissue paper within each fold before being folded neatly and slipped into a box for delivery. A certificate of authenticity will accompany the jacket, as well as a few camellias – Coco Chanel’s favourite flowers. The box will then be tied with a ribbon, ready to be shipped to and adorn the next lucky woman it is made for.
To learn more, log on to the official website here.
More from Chanel: Watch its latest short featuring Kristen Stewart