Edinburgh & Chanel
Like Hemingway and Gellhorn but without HBO (and many words)
Following the notes on my generation, behold: a humble brag. This week, I went to the most otherworldly destination wedding that I have ever seen. No detail went spared: the moment I arrived at the airport in Edinburgh, where border control and subsequent airport officials very clearly surmised that I “must be here for the fahsun show,” a branded iPad with my name plastered across it waited to retrieve me (just next to, I might add, one titled “Pitt.”)
On Tuesday night at Linlithgow Palace, a series of five men dressed in traditional Scottish kilts played a bag-pipe induced symphony, welcoming guests into a glass tent built into the grounds on which Mary, Queen of Scot was born, overlooking a dark, wide pond and the shapely silhouettes of leafless trees continuing to subsist through a blanket of thick fog.
The tent contained at least thirty tables. Candles and chandeliers dimly lit the room, reflecting the elegant, intricate table settings—three forks, two spoons, four knives per guest. Each with wine, champagne and water glasses different from the guest’s before, and a large, round steel metal plate, durable and ready to harvest the five course feast that would inevitably feature the best smoked salmon Scotland had to offer.
While we soaked in what I imagined to be the last indulgence of the night, (caramel blocks of fudge,) 18-year-old English dreamboat, Jake Bugg (two g’s,) emerged from behind a curtain and with his uncannily folksy tunes, began to serenade the intimate group sitting before him. When he completed his set, the man of the hour, Karl Lagerfeld took the stage to shake his hand.
Herds of the Kaiser’s guests flocked to the stage, anticipating a word of exchange about the memorable night. Eyes sparkled wide and camera flashes went off. Alas though, nothing, and we were forced to conjecture our own theories about the way in which Karl had met and fallen in love with Edinburgh.
Indeed, Chanel’s Metier d’Art show could not be described as anything less than a regal destination wedding. If the organization, dedication and thoughtful attention that went into crafting the perfect two days weren’t a testament to Lagerfeld’s adoration and subsequent commitment to Edinburgh, well, then, I must be terrible lover.
Before the dinner, before the performance, there was the ceremony. In a courtyard featuring a center piece comprised of Scottish warriors made from iron, defeating what looked like lion-shaped daemons, there were buckets of fire that toasted the otherwise freezing venue. The guests, dressed in the team fabric (tweed,) took their plank-wooden seats.
The music started and there she was: Stella. In a black waistcoat, featuring a tartan collar and sleeves, she layered to perfect oblivion. They all did. Pants, skirts, tights, sweaters, blouses, jackets, even purses. As the show progressed, an inherent nod to Scottish culture and their tartan, (decidedly more emblazoned in the Chanel iteration,) infused by a profound appreciation for 1983 (considerably large sleeves, signature pearl drop earrings, strands of gold chain,) progressed (and regressed) to Medieval times.
Thick white wool gowns and lace Tudor collars lead me to believe that the colonial looking woman Kristin Wiig swore she’d seen on the wing of her flight to Las Vegas circa Bridesmaids was actually a Chanel model. But how did she get her to hair to cornrow from the back of her scalp up, creating a most convoluted beehive? (There were gems plucked into there.)
As for the shoes, two pair of heels in the entire collection, the rest were a series of Doc Marten-esque lace up boots, some cut out and exposing wool argyle tights, others covered entirely by fur. In what was perhaps the most man-repelling version, leather floral appliqués featuring different swatches of plaid fabric infiltrated a shin-length boot. And I admired the small classic leather Chanel bags, updated with the sporadic placement of metal tassels across the flaps. There were flasks too, worn as diminutive purses layered over their heavier set sisters.
Then the show ended and bag piping ensued. “What did you think?” a guest asked me while we walked to the glass tent.
I sighed in astonishment—almost, but not quite speechless. “Real, true, whole love.” I explained. “But where was Brad Pitt?”