Is Karl Lagerfeld "Winding Down" at Chanel?
Insiders speculate that the 83-year-old is considering retirement.

Chanel’s Resort 2017-2018 show “The Modernity of Antiquity,” staged in the Galerie Courbe, a glass-roofed rotunda in the top reaches of the Grand Palais in rainy Paris, was an intimate affair for 350. “Small,” mused Russian entrepreneur Dasha Zhukova, “which was nice.”

It is not the first time Chanel has staged its Resort show in France—in recent years, its models have walked the quay of Saint-Tropez, the gardens of Versailles, and the grounds of the Hôtel du Cap in Antibes. But according to Chanel sources, this show was originally planned for Lisbon, and was switched to Paris because, as more than one put it, “Karl is not doing well.”

When asked about the venue change, a Chanel spokesman said, “I can’t comment on that.”

The talk of the Greek-themed luncheon afterward in the Mini Palais restaurant downstairs was 83-year-old Lagerfeld’s unstable curtain call walk, with its distinct limp and a firm grasp on eight-year-old godson Hudson Kroenig’s hand, and the unusual “no backstage” policy that blocked well-wishers and reporters from approaching Lagerfeld following the show. “You can feel the winding down in-house,” a Chanel source said. “It definitely feels like an era is coming to an end.”

Still, the show itself felt more youthful than ever. Along a curving runway framed by crumbling ionic columns and a ten-foot olive tree in homage to Ancient Greece’s Temple of Poseidon and the Parthenon, Lagerfeld sent out a stream of pretty blush and beige tweed mini-suits, jaunty T-shirts emblazoned with the brand’s signature interlocking Cs, and, for the closing, a trio of draped white gowns suitable for vestal virgins or brides.

Socialites and starlets hailed the collection, which will be in stores in November, as “fresh” and “light.” It did skew young—far younger than the majority of loyal clients seated in the front row. These were clothes for New Guard holidays in Saint-Barth’s, not Old Guard dinner parties in Gstaad.

Which is to say, perhaps Mr. Lagerfeld has a lot more left in him than people think.

*This story originally appeared on
* Minor edits have been made by the editors.

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