(Image via CHANEL.com)
On Tuesday 19th February news broke out that Karl Lagerfeld had passed away in Paris, aged 85. While I never knew Karl personally, I was fortunate enough to have worked for two CHANEL’s during his reign, working for CHANEL in Australia and CHANEL in London, United Kingdom. (So needless to say I am a big fan of the brand itself, but also a little bit heartbroken by news of his death).
Though undeniably there are things that he has said that weren’t always “friendly” or “nice”, it’s undeniable the contribution he has made to not only the House of CHANEL, but the entire fashion industry too.
- LONGEVITY & LOYALTY WITH A FASHION HOUSE… Karl Lagerfeld worked with CHANEL in 1982. Fast forward to present day where, in a time where fashion designers are constantly changing between fashion houses every few years, it is remarkable and so amazing that with CHANEL he had a career with them spanning over three decades.And while yes, he did venture into other projects, working for FENDI & launching is own brand too, it is thought that this was to further nurture creative freedom, and tap into other ideas too.
- HE KEPT THE MAISONS ALIVE… CHANEL has a few different Métiers d’Art maisons in which every ‘maison’ (which is French for house) looks after an unique discipline of traditional fashion design crafts. The more commonly known ones included:
Lesage: embroidery experts, Lesage was repsonsible for CHANEL’s tweed
Desrues: responsible for making CHANEL’s buttons
Goosens: a maison dedicated to the manufacturing & supply of costume jewellery
Massaro: shoemakers of CHANEL
Barrie: a Scottish knitwear company who has worked with CHANEL for over 25 years
Maison Michel: a millinery founded in 1936 by Auguste Michel that was acquired by CHANEL in 1997.Over the years, CHANEL had acquired more of these houses, and these maisons were free to partner with other brands too. (When I visited they were also doing something for Dior’s Couture show).
- HE CREATED DREAMS… CHANEL shows weren’t just about showcasing new trends or items/fashion pieces for the upcoming season, he really sought to entertain.Every CHANEL show was thought out with so much detail, excitement and enthusiasm! Every show brought & pulled you deeper into the world of CHANEL, bringing to life what a REAL world of CHANEL would look like if it were to permanently exist. (Which hello I’d love to permanently live in!)
- THE CHANEL FAMILY… Everyone loved CHANEL, inside and out. Karl created a world that everyone wanted to be a part of, the most exciting community there was out there. Working at CHANEL as an employee was an honour, to be part of a world that brought more dreams to the lives of everyday people.My ultimate favourite show was the CHANEL Fall/Winter 2014/15 Ready-to-wear show bringing to life what a CHANEL Shopping Center would look like (if really brought to life!). This is definitely my most favourite and exciting collection, alongside the Paris-Dubai ones etc. They put so much detail into every element of this show and omgsh I think every CHANEL-fan girl would absolutely die to be in such an environment!
Okay, sidetracked for a bit but back to what I was originally saying…
Likewise, customers were also excited to be a part of the dream too. Whether or not you were an aspiring CHANEL owner, or an existing one, the brand Karl created was so strong that you could find a home/community anywhere – whether that be online forums, editorials or on instagram too.
- HE KEPT THE SPIRIT OF COCO CHANEL ALIVE… Through all of this, the world Karl Lagerfeld created, ultimately kept the spirit of Coco Chanel alive. From the stories of her growing up in an orphanage, to how she acquired the nickname ‘Coco’ (original name Gabrielle Chanel), the spirit & story of Coco Chanel has been kept very well alive from collection to collection, via his shows and the amazing adventures that Karl takes us on.
So thank you Karl for all that you have given us during your life. Thank you for making CHANEL the brand it is today, and for giving us a dream to live on for.
May you rest in peace.