PARIS — Chanel’s octogenarian designer Karl Lagerfeld, who has looked increasingly frail in recent seasons, did not come out to take a bow at the house’s couture shows in Paris, something the company attributed to him being tired.
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It is the first time in recent memory that Lagerfeld, who has designed for the house since 1983, has not come out to receive applause at the end of one of his shows.
His studio director, Virginie Viard, appeared in his place, emerging from the door of a lavish Italian “villa” that was the set at the Grand Palais, painstakingly created by the house to showcase its spring-summer designs.
Chanel told The Associated Press that Lagerfeld asked Viard to represent him because he “was feeling tired,” but did not provide any further details.
“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,” Chanel said in a statement.
In recent seasons, Lagerfeld has taken his bow alongside Viard on several occasions.
WWD reported that an announcer initially said the designer would appear at the second show, scheduled for noon, but he didn’t. Another message followed after the second show.
“We wish Mr. Lagerfeld to recover quickly,” the announcer said, without providing details.
Lagerfeld’s spring collection for Chanel featured colors and florals of the 18th century on boat-neck tweed suits and delicate cocktail and evening dresses.