King Charles III and Queen Camilla’s Historic Visit the 19M CHANEL. Story by Eleonora de Gray, Editor-in-Chief of RUNWAY MAGAZINE. Photos Courtesy: CHANEL / 19M / David Atlan / Alix Marnat.
A Regal Arrival
As part of their first state visit, Their Majesties King Charles III and Queen Camilla graced the streets of the 19M this Thursday, September 21, amidst the presence of the esteemed Madame Brigitte Macron. The royal entourage arrived to meet with artisans, artists, apprentices, and students from a groundbreaking educational program that unites CHANEL, The Prince’s Foundation, and le19M.
This inaugural state visit to France by King Charles III carries a profound message emphasizing sustainable development and harmonious coexistence, values closely aligned with the ethos of Maison CHANEL and the spirit of the19M. Their Majesties received a warm welcome at the 19M, not only from Madame Brigitte Macron but also from Bruno Pavlovsky, the president of CHANEL SAS and 19M.
The 19M – Where Craftsmanship Meets Innovation
At the heart of this visit lies the 19M, a veritable treasure trove of artistic expression. Designed and brought to life by CHANEL, this creative hub, inaugurated in January 2022, is a testament to the commitment to preserve and propagate the timeless crafts of fashion, decoration, and design. This visionary establishment is dedicated to preserving and passing on the artistry of fashion, decoration, and design. Nestled between the 19th arrondissement of Paris and the Porte d’Aubervilliers, this architectural gem brings together ten distinguished art houses, their dedicated teams, and the invaluable treasure troves of archives—comprising nearly 600 skilled artisans and experts. It is also home to the Galerie du 19M and the École Lesage.
A Century of Craftsmanship – Maison Lesage
The royal couple’s journey through the 19M began with an exploration of Maison Lesage, a venerable institution poised to celebrate its centenary in 2024. Here, artisans blend heritage with innovation, creating exquisite embroidery that graces the world’s most elegant fashion pieces. The visit allowed Their Majesties to witness the intricate artistry that has been perfected over a century.
The 19M Gallery – A Kaleidoscope of Creativity
Their Majesties continued their sojourn in the 19M Gallery, where they engaged with stylists, artists, apprentices, and members of educational and associative networks that enrich its multidisciplinary programming. It was here that they were able to interact with a diverse array of talents, from visionary stylists and artists to passionate apprentices. The gallery pulsated with the energy of artistic collaboration, where ideas flowed freely, and the air was filled with inspiration.
Nurturing Artistry for Future Generations
Their Majesties not only celebrated craftsmanship but also championed education. They had the privilege of meeting the inaugural class of the “Métiers d’art de CHANEL and The Prince’s Foundation in partnership with le19M” program. This transformative 24-week intensive course, based in Highgrove, Gloucestershire, focuses on embroidery and skill acquisition, turning students into ambassadors of excellence in craftsmanship. Between January and June 2023, these talented individuals resided at the School of Lesage embroidery, immersing themselves in the intricate crafts of Maisons Lesage, Lemarié, and Montex.
His Majesty, King Charles III, delved deep into the world of embroidery at Maison Lesage. In a poignant exchange with Hubert Barrère, the artistic director of Lesage, and three masterful embroiderers—Gaëlle Gaudron, Marie-Line Ledon Lion, and Léa Mignon—the King gained insight into the delicate artistry of embroidery.
The King also met with British students who were part of the “Métiers d’art de CHANEL and The Prince’s Foundation in partnership with le19M” educational program. This 24-week intensive course, based in Highgrove in Gloucestershire, has a singular focus on embroidery and the acquisition of skills. The British students made several trips to the Lesage School and the workshops of Maisons Lemarié, Lesage, and Montex, making them ambassadors of British excellence in craftsmanship.
A Textile Odyssey
Her Majesty, Queen Camilla, and Madame Brigitte Macron embarked on a fascinating journey into the world of textiles at the workshop. Laura Arguelles, the department director, introduced them to the intricate art of tweed weaving on a traditional loom, showcasing the timeless beauty of textiles.
Within the hallowed walls of le19M, Their Majesties were welcomed by Madame Karine Franclet, Mayor of Aubervilliers, and Monsieur François Dagnaud, Mayor of the 19th arrondissement of Paris. The regal couple explored the captivating exhibition titled “Carla Fernández: The Handmade Future.” It was a mesmerizing immersion into the world of Carla Fernández, a visionary fashion designer celebrated for her avant-garde, ethical fashion. Her work is a testament to her dedication to preserving the textile heritage of indigenous communities in her native Mexico.
Meeting the Artistic Visionaries
As Their Majesties wandered through this artistic tapestry, they had the privilege of engaging with a diverse array of talents:
- Nathalie Abscheidt, the workshop manager, and model maker from Maison Goossens.
- Carla Fernández, the trailblazing fashion designer.
- Felipe Horta, an artisan from Erongarícuaro in Michoacán and a mask designer with a profound collaboration with Carla Fernández.
- Aska Yamashita, the artistic director of Atelier Montex, along with the skilled embroiderers in the workshop.
- Several apprentices who were diligently honing their craft in the workshops of various resident houses at 19M.
- Several members of the community of actors from the 19M partner educational and associative network.
A Regal Souvenir
Before bidding adieu, Their Majesties received a heartfelt gift from Bruno Pavlovsky and six British students—a meticulously crafted embroidery. This exquisite artwork depicted a wildflower meadow on the Highgrove property, the private residence of His Majesty the King in Gloucestershire, where The Prince’s Foundation finds its home.
In a world where fashion, art, and culture intertwine, King Charles III and Queen Camilla’s visit to the 19M Gallery stands as a testament to the enduring legacy of craftsmanship and the boundless possibilities of creative collaboration. It was a day where tradition met innovation, and a royal touch graced the hearts of artisans and artists alike. This momentous visit reaffirmed the shared values of sustainable development and living together, values that are at the core of Maison CHANEL and the 19M. The echoes of this visit will resonate for generations to come, serving as a shining example of the harmonious confluence of art and culture.