For the First Time in More Than Three Decades, the Metropolitan Museum of Art Will Host a Runway Fashion Show

Chanel will present its Métiers d’Art runway show there on December 4.

Models present creations during the Chanel Croisiere (Cruise) fashion show on May 3, 2018 at the Grand Palais in Paris. Photo by Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images.
Models present creations during the Chanel Croisiere (Cruise) fashion show on May 3, 2018 at the Grand Palais in Paris. Photo by Francois Guillot/AFP/Getty Images.

The hallowed halls of New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art will play host to a different kind of fashion show this winter. Chanel will present its Métiers d’Art runway show at the Fifth Avenue institution on December 4. The historic fashion house, founded by Coco Chanel in Paris back in 1910, was previously the subject of a somewhat controversial exhibition at the institution back in 2005.

Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s head creative director, launched the annual Métiers d’Art show in 2002 as a way to recognize the craftsmanship of the fashion house’s 11 specialist ateliers, from Scotland’s Barrie Knitwear to French leathermaker Lemarié.

Fashion designer and creative director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld at the press preview for "Chanel", an exhibition of the history of the fashion house's history, at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York in 2005. Photo courtesy of Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images.

Fashion designer and creative director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld at the press preview for “Chanel”, an exhibition of the history of the fashion house’s history, at the Met in 2005. Photo courtesy of Stan Honda/AFP/Getty Images.

It remains to be seen whether the fashion show will be held outside of regular opening hours or if the museum will be closed to the public to accommodate the commercial event. Earlier this year, London’s National Gallery came under fire for closing for a full day so that Erdem could hold a fashion show in the galleries.

According to Vogue, this is the first fashion show to take place at the Met since 1982, which saw Valentino present its fall and winter collection in the main hall. The Met did not immediately answer an inquiry from artnet News regarding the rental fee for transforming the museum into a catwalk, but one assumes the opportunity doesn’t come cheap. Lagerfeld, according to the New York Times, is “known for ignoring financial limitations when putting on memorable shows.”

Lagerfeld has a history with the Met. In 2016, he co-chaired the museum’s “Manus x Machina”-themed gala, which contrasted handmade haute couture with new technological advances in fashion. And the Met’s 2005 Costume Institute exhibition juxtaposed original Chanel designs with garments created during Lagerfeld’s tenure, which began in 1983. (The exhibition was originally scheduled to take place in 2000, but was canceled in part due to the conflicting visions of Lagerfeld and the museum’s then-director Philippe de Montebello.)

Models walk the runway during the Chanel Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018/2019 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2018 in Paris, France. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.

Models walk the runway during the Chanel Haute Couture Fall Winter 2018/2019 show as part of Paris Fashion Week on July 3, 2018 in Paris, France. Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images.

The upcoming presentation, reports Women’s Wear Daily, marks just the third time that Chanel will debut a collection in New York, although the company’s eponymous founder visited the city in 1931 and began selling a line of hats there back in 1912.

The 2005 Métiers d’Art show was held at the company’s Fifth Avenue store, and the 2007 resort show took over the promenade of Grand Central Station. Chanel previously hit up one of the city’s many art venues when it restaged its 2015 Métiers d’Art runway show, originally held at Salzburg’s Schloss Leopoldskron palace, at the Park Avenue Armory three weeks later.

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld acknowledges the audience at the end of the Chanel 2018–19 Fall/Winter Haute Couture collection fashion show, in front of a replica of the front entrance of the French Institute at the Grand Palais in Paris, on July 3, 2018. Photo credit should read Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images.

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld at the Chanel 2018–19 Fall/Winter Haute Couture collection fashion show, in front of a replica of the front entrance of the French Institute at the Grand Palais in Paris, on July 3, 2018. Alain Jocard/AFP/Getty Images.

Last year’s 89-piece Métiers d’Art collection debuted at the new Elbphilharmonie concert hall in Hamburg—Lagerfeld’s hometown—to its largest-ever audience of 1,420 guests, including celebrities Tilda Swinton and Kristen Stewart.


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