From Cloud to Crystal Sea

Alicja Kwade, TunnelTellerCastle Hill on the Crane Estate;
Chanel Haute Couture Fall 2018 dress with 'high profile' silhouette in chiffon with embellished bodice

Alicja Kwade, TunnelTeller, 2018,
Stainless steel, concrete, natural stone (Macauba azul);
Chanel Haute Couture dress with zippered slit to reveal matching mini-skirt trimmed in sequined braiding, extra-long fingerless gloves by Maison Causse

Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, Ipswich, MA;
Chanel Haute Couture Fall 2018 top with puff sleeves and Victorian neckline cascades into a skirt of pleated chiffon

Grand Allée, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate, Ipswich, MA;
Chanel Haute Couture 

A stone drops and the ceremonious non reality begins. Like a bird I gathered all my seeds polished with steel wool persuasion and we arrived siphoned through to a sequin of our existence. In a slash the outline of the procession seemingly disappeared, a stroll along the Seine, a promenade to the sea. An autumn leaf pushed to the edge of its existence lands in full splendor on the Grand Allée. Alicja Kwade’s site specific installation appears a phantasm in light of the former hedge maze. Tunnels filled with majesty reflect the sublimation of its teller, Castle Hill on the Crane Estate. The pleasure of subversion occurs in the tracery of the past, Chanel Haute Couture crystalized, spun on its illustrious axis and with the grace of veracity glides free.


In a moment where honoring the past to enrich and inform the present to some appears no longer obligatory, Alicja Kwade and Karl Lagerfeld present the counterpoint, extending the line to invent incalculable choreographies. La danse, a spectre of silvery grey, shades of ocean and sky, striations of earth, spruce, anthracite, edged in red cedar evokes at once the iconic natural beauty of Castle Hill and the emblematic colors of Paris, home to Chanel Métiers d’art, the capital of Haute Couture fashion.


Taken by the phantom beauty of the land, Chicago Industrialist Richard T. Crane Jr., purchased the New England coastal property in 1910 establishing the Crane Estate as his summer family retreat. The Crane family sought the prominent architect, David Adler, known for his elegant use of proportion and ability to masterfully collage styles into a timeless aesthetic. Crane worked with renowned Boston landscape architects the Olmsted Brothers and Arthur Shurcliff whom designed the former hedge maze interpreted by Alicija Kwade, as well as the 160-foot-wide, half-mile-long Grand Allée which connects the home to the sea. A National Historic Landmark, the family bequeathed the Crane Estate in 1940 to The Trustees, the nation’s first preservation and conservation organization and initiators of the Art and Landscape program whom commissioned TunnelTeller as Alicja Kwade’s first large-scale public artwork in the United States.


An ocean apart the House of Chanel was founded in 1913 by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, her commitment to creation and ongoing collaboration with the premier artisans of her time remains unparalleled. The legacy of the couturier and her champion of the Maisons d’art has been vitally furthered by Karl Lagerfeld. In the rarified petite mains of the Chanel Haute Couture Atelier, Lagerfeld’s designs are rendered to immaculate conception. This Fall Haute Couture Collection plays with the dissolution of the real into pure abstract form. Sequins of the changing season embroidered like the painterly stokes of Gustav Klimt’s ‘Golden Phase’ flicker into vaporous pleating. An embellished bodice floats above delicate layers of transparency while form takes on the aura of classical statuary. Nothing existing here is of this world.

In an essential gesture Chanel has secured the future of the Métiers d’art in a new construction designed to serve and foster each entity of artisanal knowledge on a single site. The project was awarded to architect Rudy Ricciotti and the space will be completed in 2020. A collective community to deepen our connection to creation and beauty, what more of a gift.


Chanel Haute Couture Fall 2018 Collection
Alicja Kwade, TunnelTeller,
Castle Hill on the Crane Estate


Photographs by Tylor Hóu