While I have nothing but respect for Karl Lagerfeld's legacy, awe for his work ethic, and am nothing short of amazed by his commerciality and incomparable impact on the industry, I've not liked Chanel in a long time. If you had mentioned Chanel to me six weeks ago, I would have muttered something rude about tweed.
Truth be told, yes, the Chanel sets were always amazing, but I felt they detracted from the lack of innovation in the collections. The Chanel show began to feel like a recurrence of The Emperor's New Clothes, where the looks are boring and repetitive, but everyone says it's an amazing show because it's Chanel. They clap, take pictures of the sand/rocket/waterfall on set, and caption their post to say that Karl is a genius. I don’t need to reference psychology studies to convey to you that we’re all basically sheep. The critics, to avoid pissing of the house and burning bridges, and in some cases, losing a great amount of advertising revenue, instead fill their reviews with commentary about the set (of course) or some quirky anecdote about something Karl did or said.
I know you’re thinking: Karl Lagerfeld was a great man, why can't you respect everything he's done for fashion? Believe me, I do. I could have written about his career highlights, his time at Balmain, Chloé, Fendi; his famous diet, starched collars, listed his many funny/offensive quotes, his numerous homes, and Choupette, but you already know these stories. And I believe other platforms can recount his legacy better. I want to pose a more controversial, but ultimately important question, was it optimal to keep Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel for this long? I feel that it wasn't. Clothes that are truly good, ones that move the fashion conversation forward, make us feel something deeply. And while the Chanel brand undoubtedly means a lot of things to a lot of people, the clothes at Chanel stopped moving most of us a long time ago. I really want to like Chanel again, because...it's Chanel, Gabrielle and I share a birthday, and the house deserves a true revival. It deserves collections that make people walk away and say "that final dress was everything", not, "did you see that Chanel lemonade?"