Emblematic Creative Director for the CHANEL Fashion House from 1983 until his passing in February 2019, Karl Lagerfeld was an extraordinary creative individual who reinvented the brand’s codes, first imagined by Gabrielle Chanel, through his inspiration and collections for the House. Creating “a better future with enlarged elements of the past,” according to Goethe’s phrase which he liked to quote, Karl Lagerfeld extended the spectrum of CHANEL’s stylistic vocabulary, crossing the House’s identifying elements with his own aesthetic universe. Drawing from his vast array of cultural references, his designs were notably inspired by two of his favorite eras, Modernism and the 18th century. The sumptuously refined silhouettes and accessories of his collections never ceased to exalt the exceptional know-how of CHANEL’s ateliers and Maisons d’art, which he nourished with continual inspiration. Karl Lagerfeld’s unrivaled gift was perfectly articulated in his final CHANEL Métiers d’art collection, named “Paris-New York,” presented in December 2018 at the Temple of Dendur at The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Garments, accessories, catwalk sets and scenography, advertising and editorial photos, film books: as the first Creative Director of a luxury brand to think of fashion design in all its facets and as a whole, Karl Lagerfeld forged his own myth. He placed himself alongside Gabrielle Chanel as the second founder of CHANEL Fashion, leaving a strong and coherent legacy that is now reinterpreted by Virginie Viard, who spent more than thirty years at his side. CHANEL is pleased to support this exhibition, which sheds light on the work of a designer of genius who marked the history of fashion and changed the destiny of the House forever.
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