Lagerfeld with Viard, left, at the close of the Métiers d’Art show in New York, in December of last year.

Karl Lagerfeld Absent From Chanel Couture Show

An announcement was made at the close of the show that the designer was “feeling tired” and that his right-hand Virginie Viard would “represent the collection.”

by Rachel Tashjian
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Jan 22 2019, 1:22pm

Lagerfeld with Viard, left, at the close of the Métiers d’Art show in New York, in December of last year.

At the close of the first of two Spring 2019 Chanel Couture shows on Tuesday morning—one of the highlights of the week, and one of the most prestigious moments in the house’s calendar—an announcement was made that the house’s longtime artistic director Karl Lagerfeld “was feeling tired” and was not in attendance. The announcement, made first in French and then in English, read in full:

“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 the creative studio of the house, to represent him and greet the guests alongside the bride. Virginie Viard as creative studio director and Eric Pfrunder as Chanel’s director of image continue to work with him and follow through with the brand’s collections and image campaigns.”

The announcer added that Lagerfeld would appear at the second show, at noon. However, after the finale of that show, which I attended, a similar message was made, with the announcer adding that, “We wish Mr. Lagerfeld to recover quickly.”

Lagerfeld, who is 85, has helmed Chanel since 1983, though in several recent seasons, Viard has joined him during his post-runway bow, including the Métiers d’Art show held in New York in December of last year. Viard joined Chanel only a few years after Lagerfeld, in 1987, and is often rumored as Lagerfeld’s successor. “I make the collections come to life with the ateliers and the Métiers d’Art houses, based on Karl’s sketches,” she told the Telegraph in November of 2017. In other words, Viard makes the dreams of Lagerfeld’s legendary sketches into reality.

A full report of the Chanel couture collection is forthcoming.