CHANEL arrives in Hamburg for its Metiers d-Art 2017/2018 catwalk show

Karl Lagerfeld left Hamburg for Paris when he was 17 — although his age is always a subject of debate. He moved to France in 1952, starting at Pierre Balmain with a career rooted in couture that has flourished into this week’s exceptional Chanel show, held in the newly built Hamburg Philharmonic building, the “Elbphilharmonie”.

But true to his philosophy of never looking back, the designer has not devised a collection based on nostalgia, for he has interwoven the skills of embroiderers, knitters, milliners, jewellers and shoe-makers that the Paris fashion house has nurtured through the new millennium as “Métiers d’Art”. Karl’s focus is on the sea and its far horizon as mighty vessels come into Hamburg’s port, which is now, he says, “one of the biggest harbours in Europe, which has changed the mood and the view completely.”

Karl says that his decision to come to Hamburg is not to do with his past nor any suggestion that Coco Chanel had a connection to the city, as has been the case in previous locations chosen for the shows. Instead, the concept was inspired by the wave-shaped roof of the new concert hall. “I came here for the building. It really inspired me, and has made Hamburg the new capital of culture in Germany. Since Zaha Hadid passed away I believe that Herzog and de Meuron are the most interesting architects. They have a concert every day here and all of them are sold out. Though Hamburg is not the city of my youth. They certainly did not have any containers when I was a boy!”