POSTED BY: Ailbhe Diskin

Coco after Lagerfeld

4th Mar, 2019

Coco after Lagerfeld

February 19, 2019. The fashion industry mourns the loss of a true icon, as the news that Karl Lagerfeld has passed away hits the industry and filters down through the mainstream media.

Amongst the sadness and tributes, there were stirs. What would happen to Chanel?

Chanel and fashion are almost synonymous at this stage, the 110 year-old fashion house and global brand is of course well known as the product of the couturière Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel. Chanel designed until she passed in 1971. In 1983 Karl Lagerfeld took over as the lead designer for Chanel. Lagerfeld worked with a variety of brands over his career – primarily Chanel, Fendi and his name brand Karl Lagerfeld. Some say that he blazed the path for the nature of brand collaborations in the industry as we know them today.

Lagerfeld brought life to a company who had lost their identity along with the death of their creator a decade prior. Lagerfeld was brave and bold, traits that have brought much creativity to the house of Chanel. His bold choices have kept the brand alive and thriving today.

Before the days of Instagram, Lagerfeld was ahead of the game in creating cinematic sets and headline-worthy moments. His themes and runways were works of art from the larger-than-life carousel built in the Grand Palais for its Fall/Winter 2008 collection, to more recent, over-the-top themes like the Chanel grocery store, airport terminal and even space station (complete with a life-size rocket ship).

His bold decisions could be sometimes controversial. In 1993, US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour walked out of his Milan Fashion Week runway show when he employed strippers and adult-film star Moana Pozzi to model his black-and-white collection for Fendi.

One of Lagerfeld’s most iconic decisions was the integration of the interlocked “CC” monograph of Coco Chanel into a style pattern for the House of Chanel. Which is graphically instantly recognisable.

Lagerfeld was a brand in himself, as soon as you saw the slicked-back white ponytail, sharp suit, high-collared shirt and famous black sunglasses, you knew it was him. In the weeks passed designers and models galore have been paying him tribute across social media platforms. From Tom Ford and Diane Von Furstenberg, to models Audrey Marnay and Claudia Schiffer. As Schiffer put it:

“What Warhol was to art, he was to fashion; he is irreplaceable. He is the only person who could make black and white colorful. I will be eternally grateful to him.”

A week after his death Chanel have announced that Lagerfeld’s replacements will come from inside the brand family. Lagerfeld’s right-hand person and studio chief, Virginie Viard and image director Eric Pfrunder will take over his duties, carefully watched by a loyal following.

And as I’m sure they know, they have big shoes to fill.


Ailbhe is Neworld’s newest designer and without a doubt the lankiest member of the team. With a degree in Visual Communication from DIT, she travels to work every morning from the exotic depths of the Northside; a Dub through and through. Her love of design is only rivalled by her obsession with both dogs and prawn cocktail crisps.