Chanel’s designer Lagerfeld, who has looked increasingly frail in recent seasons, did not come out to take a bow at the house’s couture collections in Paris because he was “tired.”
In his place, his longtime studio director Virginie Viard appeared through a door in the lavish Italian villa decor that had been painstakingly created by the house.
It immediately prompted surprise and visible sadness from many fashion editors attending the show at the Grand Palais.
At the end of the first show at 10am, an announcement explained the designer would appear for the noon presentation. But come noon, the German-born couturier was absent again.
It’s the first time in recent memory that Lagerfeld, who has designed for the Parisian stalwart since 1983 and was a contemporary of the late Yves Saint Laurent, has not been physically present to receive applause at the end of a show.
In a statement, Chanel said “for the traditional greeting at the end of the show, Mr Lagerfeld, artistic director of Chanel, who was feeling tired” asked Viard “to represent him” — without providing any further details.