Who's Coco Chanel Without Karl Lagerfeld?
It has been a long three months since the passing of Karl Lagerfeld and the beginning of an era without the iconic contributor. He has upheld the ideals and standards of haute couture in today's world and revolutionized the way women have dressed for decades. But his beloved Coco Chanel is faced with a unique challenge. To define who she is without her companion...
We love Chanel for her elegance and the level of detail Lagerfeld brought to the label, down to his last collection, but with Karl gone is Chanel ready to rewrite her narrative?
The future of Chanel is unclear but her reputation has faced tougher times. The "Coco Chanel" revived the brand from its financial and public set back in the 1950s by competing against the same people who sought to tarnish her reputation. With plans to carry-on the sacred name, Coco brought excitement to the brand by redefining womanhood in her image. Makes you wonder if Chanel needs a similar rebranding.
It was no surprise when news broke that Virginie Viard stepped up as creative director after Lagerfeld passed. She served at his side for many years and the brand needed someone who could deliver in such short notice. The high end label has showcased two collections since then and both were partially overshadowed by the loss of the brand's head designer.
The question still remains if Chanel should stay true to the course Karl set or if there's new territory to gain leaning on the creativity and direction of Virginie Viard.
What's undeniable is Karl wasn't just a designer, he was a tastemaker and Chanel was how he communicated high fashion to the world. We should still see Karl's influence in Viards future collections but she does have the opportunity to be disruptive. The public's opinion is receptive to change and Chanel's unique position allows her to pivot in a new direction with little resistance.
The question still remains, how?
Rebranding Chanel in 2019 and maintaining her influence will not be a cake walk, but Chanel has the culture on her side. Embracing the high-end attributes of high street, another term for streetwear, could be useful in attracting a younger demographic, which seems to be everybody's M.O. But playing into the futurist theme might not be a bad idea considering the future of fashion seems to change every three months. Maybe Chanel can add structure back into fashion by speaking the language of the younger people.
Viard's attempt to carry the name into our future is still undetermined, but it's a challenge she will not approach alone. The new artistic director of the label's image, Eric Pfrunder, will also work with Viard these next couple months leading up to PFW in September to decide who Coco will be without her Karl.