London, Paris, Milan… Manchester? It’s no secret that fashion’s elite love discovering exotic locales as part of their busy front-row schedule. Over the past 12 months alone, they have touched down in Seoul, Mumbai and Mexico City. This week, however, Chanel’s prestigious Métiers d’Art catwalk show sees an elite guest list of the industry’s most important people and the label’s biggest spenders descending not on Monaco — where the event was held in May 2022 — but good ol’ Manny.
Following in the footsteps of Burberry, who brought luxury to a London greasy spoon, Chanel’s show will take place opposite one of Manchester’s oldest and most iconic boozers, The Milestone – a spot best known for cheap pints and karaoke. So, if fashion’s elite fancy an affordable Guinness or a packet of pork scratchings, they won’t be too far. Thomas Street, where the event will be held, has been dominated by metal constructions and scaffolding since 17th November, as builders transform the residential road into a scenic greenhouse with a roof to protect models from the Mancunian weather.
Manchester has been chosen because it is “one of the most effervescent cities of pop culture and an avant-garde one, whose bands, spanning all genres, have changed the history of music”, Chanel has said.
According to a video posted by Manchester’s Finest, the invitation comes with a 12in vinyl record, a Manchester-themed Chanel scarf, and a magazine in which the iconic road sign from TV soap opera Coronation Street sign has been redesigned to say Chanel St. The invitation also uses imagery from the legendary Hacienda nightclub and Factory Records, and a photo of Manchester-born suffragette Emmeline Pankhurst.
Besides the weather, all the talk is about which celebrities will turn up. The likes of Pharrell Williams, Lily-Rose Depp and Kristen Stewart have been regulars at the Metiers d’Art in recent years, while Timothee Chalamet and Riley Keough are new Chanel brand ambassadors. Former Manchester residents David and Victoria Beckham are popular tips, while other speculative suggestions range from Beyonce and Kim Kardashian to local heroes Liam Gallagher
Despite Manchester being associated with fast fashion brands in the modern day – both Boohoo and Missguided have their headquarters – you need only look at TikTok to see that the city’s Nineties heyday is back: bucket hats and baggy trousers; Adidas Gazelles, Stone Island and sporty vintage zip-tops. Meanwhile, It also has the largest concentration of fashion students and undergraduates in the UK outside London, according to Fashion United. So, let’s hope that Chanel’s presence can provide a welcome thrust to Manchester’s thriving fashion.
The exclusive Metiers d’Art event will take place on Thursday evening (December 7th) with a film of the show being revealed on Friday, December 8th at 9am.