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Karl Lagerfeld’s absence at Chanel Couture SS2019 and major shifts in the fashion game

23rd January, 2019

Iconic designer Karl Lagerfeld’s absence did not go unnoticed at the Chanel Couture SS19 show last Tuesday 22nd at Le Grand Palais, in Paris.


To clarify the matter, this has never happened before. The final bow of Lagerfeld was given by Virginie Viard, director of the creative studio of Chanel. Apparently, this did not shocked the fashion audience at first due to the fact that Viard has been taking the bow along with Lagerfeld during the last seasons. However, when the designer did not showed up and the presentation clearly came to an end, the concern amongst the attendants was almost tangible. The official spokesperson for the French luxury house reported stated that Mr. Lagerfeld could not be presented fue to “extreme fatigue”.

This absence made way more noise than silence, specially when looking into the long-term of the fashion industry. Democratised and globalised by social media, and constantly forced to keep up with the fast-pace of tech updates coming on daily basis, the once statuesque and rigid fashion realm feels today the pressure to speed up with the times. Untouchable figures such as Anna Wintour, who has created an aura of inscrutable mystery around her, are now questioned as for how irreplaceable they really are. Of course, a list of professionals that could possibly succeed her have caught the attention of more than one since last year.

Vogue Runway, the digital version of the magazine, is charging fees of $20,000 for designers who wish to get featured on their Fashion Week site. The print version of the fashion bible, once looking like the actual holy book of Catholics because of it’s infinite pages, is looking way slimmer these days. The partnership with digital influencers is not a new thing, even for luxury brands, and since mid 2017, 75% of fashion brands are actively are using social media influencers, as well as increasing their budgets for this purpose.

Winds of change are smoothly revealing a new landscape for fashion in the upcoming years. The vision of Virgil Abloh at Louis Vuitton Men, the tech-savyness and freshness of Alexandre Arnault at Rimowa, the artistic boldness of American-designer Heron Preston, the irreverence of fashion luxury magazines like CHAOS and the unique charisma of fashion figures such as Eva Chen have started to shape a new ecosystem. All of them, powered by the digital era.

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