Chanel Métiers d’Art 2014 in Salzburg

Lagerfeld's Loden-Style at Leopoldskron is the fashion spectacle of the year

What happens when Germany’s best fashion designer who works for the most famous fashion house in Paris goes back to his roots? Chanel Paris – Salzburg. This season in his 11th Métiers d’art collection for Chanel, the Hamburg-raised Karl Lagerfeld picked Salzburg, a city that took him back to his childhood and summer holidays of Lederhosen and Sacher Torten. Call it a quirky, even dirty, dip into his Teutonic DNA.

In a brilliant display of Chanel’s craftsmanship roots, Chanel’s Paris-Salzburg collection was filled with whimsical references like Haferl shoes and Kniebundhosen but of course all done and executed with the outmost chic and insouciance. Karl’s best selling bags from this collection will surely be his satchels made out of crotch and midriff of Lederhosen pants.

“This way a girl put her hand in her own fly in public,” cackled the meister couturier at a private fitting with Achtung Mode on Monday afternoon in the rococo chateau.

Held in Schloss Leopoldskron, which is perched on a lake, the show gathered Germany’s power media elite and Austria’s titled in-crowd. In this gloomy economy, Chanel’s power and mystique have rarely been greater. As rivals growth rates slow to single figures, the Chanel brand continues to score double-digit growth and remain the epitome of cool. At the end of the day this is owed, above all, to one reason: the brilliant mind and imagination of Karl Lagerfeld who took the region’s Loden and Tracht tradition to new heights by pairing Haute Couture silhouettes, Tyrolean materials with Magyar embroidery – in a show that riffed on Austria’s legendary cinematic trilogy, Sissi, about the tragic last Austro-Hungarian empress Elisabeth.

For Achtung Mode this show was the ultimate fashion sweet spot. At a moment when our strongest design voices like Jil Sander and Helmut Lang are both still moored on the sidelines, it’s a delight to see Lagerfeld twist familiar Mitteleuropean dress codes into international high fashion. And, do so in a city that is very much a holy grail of culture via its Salzburger Festspiele. Even German Chancellor Angela Merkel attends religiously. Mozart and Sissi would have loved this bucolic work of fantasy and whimsy staged in a gloriously rococo palace.