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How Virginie Viard showed Karl Lagerfeld's love for fashion

With this year's Met Gala theme being 'Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty', a look at Chanel's references to their former creative director after his death

The Chanel fall-winter 2022-23 show.
The Chanel fall-winter 2022-23 show. (Courtesy Chanel)

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Karl Lagerfeld was among the formidable creative forces who resurrected design houses, making them relevant for the new-age fashion consumer. From resurrecting Chanel in the 80s to lending his dynamism to Fendi and Chloe, Lagerfeld's creativity was widespread. 

Since his arrival at Chanel, he reimagined the fashion codes of the French luxury house—relooking at the styles from the context of the demand at the time,  and how the consumer demand was evolving. 

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Virginie Viard at the Chanel 2022/23 Métiers d'art show in Dakar.
Virginie Viard at the Chanel 2022/23 Métiers d'art show in Dakar. (Courtesy Chanel)

Besides his incredible body of work in high fashion, Lagerfeld also had a history of making controversial statements. For instance, in 2010, while speaking to Vice, the Hamburg-born designer suggested that he was against same-sex marriage. “I’m against (gay marriage) for a very simple reason: In the 60s, they all said we had the right to the difference. And now, suddenly, they want a bourgeois life,” Lagerfeld told Vice. “For me it’s difficult to imagine, one of the papas at work and the other at home with the baby. How would that be for the baby? I don’t know. I see more lesbians married with babies than I see boys married with babies. And I also believe more in the relationship between mother and child than in that between father and child.”

Later, however, he expressed his support for the legalisation of same-sex marriage. But he said he was “less keen” on child adoption for gay couples.

In 2012, he faced a lot of criticism over his comments about singer Adele being a “little too fat”. Later he told CNN, "I never said that she was fat. I said that she was a little roundish; a little roundish is not fat. But for such a beautiful girl, after that she lost eight kilos (17.6 pounds), so I think the message was not that bad."

With this year’s Met Gala theme (to take place on 1 May) being “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”, here's looking at some of Chanel's current creative director Virginie Viard's (Lagerfeld's right-hand since 1987) collections that showed Lagerfeld's way of thinking.

Chanel Fall 22 couture

For the label's fall 22 couture outing, Viard recalled a visual of supermodel Inès de Fressange dressed by Lagerfeld in a green jacket (for a 1988 Chanel couture show, when she first came on board). Some of the ensembles in the fall 22 collection evoked Lagerfeld’s impressionistic sketches from the 2000s.

Chanel Resort 23

A tribute to the jetset glamour of Monaco, this collection was showcased at the Hotel Monte-Carlo Beach. Viard recalled beautiful snapshots with  Lagerfeld in a villa he maintained, 'La Vigie'. Chanel's Spring Summer 2021 campaign was entirely shot in Monaco and at villa La Vigie. The campaign starred house muse and humanitarian Charlotte Casiraghi. 

Chanel Prefall 21

Viard drew inspiration from Lagerfeld’s fall 1983 trompe l’oeil “shower” collection for Chloé, which featured beaded faucets and shower heads sprinkling water sprays. The collection was camp and elegant at the same time.

Chanel Fall 2020

Viard derived inspiration from a photograph of Karl Lagerfeld and his former muse Anna Piaggi (an Italian fashion writer), both dressed in Edwardian-era ensembles. Viard reimagined Lagerfeld’s chunky-heel boot and styled it with every ensemble in the 72-look collection.

Chanel Resort 2020

In the final look of Resort 20, Virginie paid a thoughtful tribute to Lagerfeld by sending out a model in a halter dress held from a stiff Edwardian collar in Lagerfeld's characteristic black and white.

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