Chanel Haute Couture 1983

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Karl Lagerfeld, 1983.

When one thinks of the mystique behind the classic fashion mega label Chanel, two starkly different characters immediately come to mind. Perhaps two of the most celebrated designers in fashion, so infamous they have become more caricatures of themselves, united as symbols of style, elegance and divine taste. That would of course be Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld. Both pushed the limits of fashionable women’s wear in their prime. What Lagerfeld did for Chanel, some might argue (Lagerfeld in particular,) was what Chanel failed to do in the 1960s and that is to evolve the brand while maintaining the classic Chanel refinement.

In 2010 while speaking at the International Herald Tribune Luxury Heritage conference, Lagerfeld shared that he believes Coco Chanel had made two mistakes during her career. The first was not recognizing the stylish sex appeal of the mini skirt. According to the German-born designer, the second was her abhorrence of denim at a time when the whole world was crazy for the fabric. When Lagerfeld debuted his first Haute Couture collection for Chanel in 1983, he had already been the head designer at Chloé and had been designing for Fendi since 1965. In his debut haute couture collection for the brand, the notoriously forward-thinking designer made great effort to capture the essence of the clothes while making them appear modern.

A New York Times article from January 26, 1983 reads Lagerfeld Guides Chanel in to 80s. In the years following Lagerfeld will be widely criticized for his sexual themes and boundary pushing experimentation with the brand. This video shows different Chanel fashions throughout the decades up until Lagerfeld’s Chanel debut in 1983. The expertly accessorized, embellished, yet restrained designs of the 1983 Haute Couture show towards the 6:46 mark demonstrate vintage Chanel themes captured and redefined, allowing one to further appreciate how Lagerfeld has managed to adapt and refine his revitalizing take on classic Chanel staples like the tailored suit, and the little black dress, in to the glamorously refined recognizably Chanel couture aesthetic the world has marveled over for decades.    



Chanel Haute Couture, 1983.


Chanel Haute Couture, 1983.

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