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Karl Lagerfeld "too tired" to appear at Chanel couture show in Paris

Lauretta Roberts
22 January 2019

Chanel's long-standing creative director Karl Lagerfeld sparked rumours of his retirement from the storied French house after he failed to turn up to either of its couture shows this week.

Lagerfeld, who is 85 years old, has headed the house since 1983 and made it one of the most successful luxury brands in the world after it fell out of fashion following the death of its founder Coco Chanel in 1971.

After his failure to attend the first show at the Grand Palais in Paris today (the shows ran at 10am and 12pm) the company initially said he would be present at the second. However after his non-attendance at that show too, the company issued the following statement:

"Chanel presented its Spring-Summer 2019 Haute Couture collection this morning at the Grand Palais, in a Mediterranean garden setting. The collection, designed by Karl Lagerfeld, is inspired by his favourite period, the eighteenth century.

"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 incident sparked rumours that Chanel's owners, Alain and Gérard Wertheimer, were urgently succession planning at the house.

As well as heading up Chanel, Lagerfeld is creative director of Italian house Fendi and heads up his own label. He is known to be one of the hardest working creatives in fashion and, following the deaths of his contemporaries such as Yves Saint Laurent and Hubert de Givenchy, he is the last remaining bastion of Paris's post-war grand couture era.

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