Lagerfeld (still) not retiring

16 November 2009

karl lagerfeld

There’s only one thing the fashion industry loves more than beautiful clothing, and that’s rumours of a designer being succeeded at a top fashion label. For months now, the industry has been a-buzz with talk that Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz is being considered to take over from Karl Lagerfeld at the house of Chanel. It’s not clear where the rumours started, although they were first published on Diane Pernet’s blog, on A Shaded View On Fashion in June this year. Pernet later issued a statement on her blog retracting the claims. But Elbaz’s knockout spring ’10 collection for Lanvin in October seemed to reignite the careless whispers.

Lagerfeld, thought to be in his 70s (his exact age is rather a veiled secret), is now in his 27th year at Chanel. His role as creative director at the prestigious house is regarded as one of the plum jobs in the industry (Chanel is one of the few fashion houses still run as a privately owned family business). Louis Vuitton designer Marc Jacobs is another name which is often mentioned in connection with the label.

As one of the hottest young designers currently working in Paris, creating well-cut catwalk-sexy yet grown-up, sophisticated clothes, Elbaz would bring a certain bourgeois charm likely to please the label’s fan base of long-term customers, many of whom have patronised Chanel since before Coco died in 1971 (Chanel never retired, working up to the year of her death). Elbaz’s bold yet elegant colour palette would also add a modern twist to the classic monochrome chic for which the house of Chanel is known.

But, over the weekend, Lagerfeld dismissed the rumours in German magazine Freundin. 'Retirement is not one of the topics with which I deal. Why should I? I still have so many projects that I sometimes don't know where to begin. Chanel will still need some clothes when I'm 89.'

This is not the first time Lagerfeld has been forced to issue a statement to dispel talk of his retirement. Earlier this year, New York Times fashion writer Cathy Horyn claimed the designer had told her 'to forget about [the retirement rumours]. He was going to die with his boots on. He also mentioned that Alain Wertheimer, whose family owns Chanel, said he would sell the house when the designer leaves. This might not be the case, Mr Lagerfeld said, but it was a nice thing to be told'.

Whatever the truth of the rumours, Lagerfeld’s incredible spring 10 collection for Chanel (one of Grazia’s favourites this season), is all the proof needed that this will be a very tough act to follow. [CocoPerez]


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