when Coco Chanel visited New York in 1931, the Chicago Daily Tribune noted that she arrived with two assistants, three maids, 15 trunks and 35 additional pieces of luggage. Eighty-seven years later, the house she founded still travels in style.
On Tuesday the Metropolitan Museum of Art rolled out the red carpet for Chanel and hosted its first fashion show in three decades, turning the Temple of Dendur in the Sackler Wing into a catwalk for Karl Lagerfeld’s Metiers d’Art collection.
Chanel aligns itself with icons wherever it goes. When Lagerfeld is in New York, the city’s grandest museum becomes a catwalk, and the show is advertised all over the city; posters depict Coco as the Statue of Liberty, sporting a spiked crown with her little tweed suit, flaming torch aloft.
The Chanel brand lays claim to a mass culture bandwidth – as big as Disney, as bold as Coca Cola – while retaining a high culture price tag.