On Tuesday, Chanel presented Karl Lagerfeld's vision of a Mediterranean, palm tree-lined garden, complete with a Tuscan-style villa, delicate cocktail dresses, and boat-neck tweed suits. But one very important detail was missing: Lagerfeld did not come out for his customary walk to close the show.
According to WWD, in a statement Chanel provided (first read at the show in French and then in English), "For the traditional greeting at the end of the show, Mr. Lagerfeld, artistic director of Chanel, who was feeling tired, asked Virginie Viard, director of creative studio of the house, to represent him and greet the guests alongside the bride." The statement continued: "Virginie Viard as the creative studio director and Eric Pfunder as Chanel's director of image continue to work with him and follow through with the brand's collections and image campaigns."
Initially, the brand said Lagerfeld would make an appearance during the second show on Tuesday. However, he didn't show. "We wish Mr. Lagerfeld to recover quickly," WWD reports an announcer said without providing any other updates on the matter.
The designer took over the French fashion house in 1983, with Viard coming onboard just a few years after Lagerfeld in 1987. She joined him in a post-runway bow after the Métiers d’Art show in New York last December, and is often rumoured to be his successor when the time comes. Could Lagerfeld's absence be the signalling of a new era?
Last June, in a new wave of transparency, Chanel released its yearly earnings for the first time in its 108-year history. Philippe Blondiaux, Chanel’s chief financial officer, told The New York Times during a phone interview after the report was released: “We are very proud of who we are at Chanel and how much we have achieved while always retaining a core vision and creative heritage. This will remain the same in 10 years, 50 years — centuries — to come. This is what we want to communicate.”