What more romantic setting in the world could there be for a fashion show than the burned out ruin that is Linlithgow Palace, the birthplace of Mary Stuart, Queen of Scots. Scottish mist, a sprinkling of snow and goblets of fire only added to the magical mood that met guests at the annual Chanel Metiers d’Art collection shown in this location outside Edinburgh last night.
Models Cara Delevingne (in puffball boucle wool skirt and jacket with white silk cravat), Stella Tennant (wearing an embellished Shetland wool jumper, tartan trimmed coat and long black lace skirt) and Edie Campbell all walked inside the castle walls. Their looks were teamed with Argyle and tartan print stockings and flat lace-up booties or more that were covered in knotted ribbons of plaid and what looked like tufted teddy bear fur. All were the kind of footwear a girl could quite happily dance a Highland Fling in.
“I love Mary Queen of Scots and I love Scotland,” Karl Lagerfeld said after the show, before admitting he’d never actually been there before. “I’ve been working the whole time but I like what I’ve seen from my hotel window. The city looks very beautiful. But you know I’m not a tourist. I’m not into sightseeing. I like how I think a place is. I don’t have to see what it actually is.
And this was indeed the Scotland that dreams are made of – and Karl Lagerfeld’s skills as a dream maker are second to none. Alongside tweed and tartan suits, layered knits and cosy coats came a sequence of long dresses and coats in ivory wool, their bodices embroidered with feathers, their collars and cuffs beaded with pearls. White was, famously, the ill-feted queen’s favourite colour and with their hair woven and plaited high on their heads then finished with Renaissance jewels the women wearing these clothes brought to mind this famous beauty reborn.
Following the show Poppy Delevingne, Anna Mougalis, Alicia Vikander and more filed down a long wooden staircase (built specially for the occasion), serenaded by pipers, to join Mr Lagefeld for a suitably lavish banquet served in interconnecting candlelit glass pavilions shipped in from Paris for the duration. Rumours that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie would be in attendance were just that although there are those who might argue it was their loss.
The Metiers d’Art collection, is designed to showcase the workmanship of France’s finest ateliers. Since 2002 Chanel has owned many of them, including most famously Lesage (master embroiderers), Goossens (costume jewelers), Lemarie (feather and flower experts), Massarro (footwear specialists responsible for the famous Chanel two tone pump) all of which it rescued from obscurity and has since invested in heavily. In October last year, the company also bought Barrie Knitwear, the Scottish cashmere mill that has produced Chanel’s signature cardigans for a quarter of a century.
“There’s nobody like Barrie to make the intarsias that we do,” Mr Lagerfeld said. “[Coco] Chanel discovered knitwear here, she discovered tweed here. She came to Scotland with her lover the Duke of Westminster. Mary Stuart’s mother was French, her father was Scottish. She went to live in France and then came back as Queen of Scotland. So, there are many connections and I like that."