“Simplicity is the keynote to all elegance”
Coco Chanel explained this as the reason for her Haute Couture brand, Chanel. Started in 1909 by Coco Chanel herself, Chanel gradually expanded from a shop selling simple clothes to becoming a haute couture boutique store. A post world wars, Chanel expanded itself from clothing and expanded into the territory of perfumes and jewelry. The perfume Chanel no. 5 which was launched in 1921 is still considered one of the best perfumes in the world. Coco Chanel along with her various business partners successfully ran the brand until her demise in 1971. Post her death, Chanel was taken over by Alain Wertheimer, the man who brought Karl Lagerfeld to Chanel.
Karl Lagerfeld became the creative director of Chanel in 1983, at a time when the brand was dying and was in dire need of new blood. He revamped and introduced the ready to wear fashion line for women. He also integrated the interlocked “CC” monograph of Coco Chanel into a style pattern for the fashion house. He, in short brought Chanel back to life. During his time at Chanel, Lagerfeld also became the creative director of Fendi and started his own brand, The Karl Lagerfeld brand.
On February’19, Lagerfeld passed away after suffering from pancreatic cancer. Lagerdeld was known for his outspoken views on all topics. He was not the one to mince his words. He made the careers of several models and designers. With his help, Chanel became one of the biggest haute couture houses in the world. He was a fashion icon in the business whose advice help great value. His death was mourned by the world, especially by the House of Chanel. His death was described as, “the end of an era” and they were not wrong. After loosing it’s creative director of 35 years, the question arises, what next for the House of Chanel?
Post his death, The House of Chanel announced on their Instagram page, that the new creative director of Chanel will be, Virgine Viard. She will be the first woman to lead Chanel since the legendary Coco Chanel herself. Viard has been Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator since over 30 years now. She has been working for him since 1987, when she first joined Lagerfeld as his intern and has remained by his side ever since then. She was called his right hand woman in the world of fashion and had been bowing with him at a lot of fashion shows in the last few years. She previously held the post of Director of Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio. She was also picked to ensure that the legacy of Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld lives on.
On May 3, 2019 – a couple of months after the death of Lagerfeld, Viard launched her first solo collection in Paris, France. The Chanel Cruise 2020 collection opened to a star studded event to positive reviews. It is early days and a tough road for Viard but she is someone who understood Lagerfeld well. She understands the fabrics to be used and the style of House Chanel from over the years. These are exciting time for the fashion brand as after a long time the reigns of the Haute Couture house are in the hands of a woman once again.