I hope that all is well with you. I’ve been crazy busy, with re-writes, outlines, working on new books for you!! I thoroughly enjoyed a two week visit from my 3 daughters who work in fashion, and it was sheer heaven having them under my roof for two weeks, overlapping each other, while they worked on fashion week in Paris. They worked hard and so did I, and I had a two day photo shoot for the photographs on the back of my books. We do a new photo for each book, and put a lot of thought into it. The shoot itself was a lot of work, with a wonderful French photographer (who does all my book cover photos), her big team, my hairdresser and makeup artist, my two assistants to keep everyone fed and organized, and one of my daughters helped me pick what to wear, and helped on the set of the shoot. We all had fun, even though it’s exhausting getting it all right.
And I had a VERY special experience last week, which moved me deeply. As many/most of you know, I go to all the Chanel fashion shows, both ready to wear and Haute Couture. It is a joy to see the talent of Karl Lagerfeld, the designer for Chanel, on glorious display with a parade of gorgeous models walking down the runway in his fabulous creations. And the sets designed for each show are amazing. (I’ve told you about the rocket ship, which appeared to lift off after one show, the iceberg that was flown in from Sweden for another show, and flown back to its natural habitat after the show, beach scenes, and tropical gardens, a ‘Supermarket” which was great fun, an old style Paris cafe. )It is always exciting and fun to see what the setting will be at the newest show.
As I mentioned to you, Karl Lagerfeld passed away recently, less than two weeks ago, at 85, after a brief illness, and he worked to the very end. He was, without question, a genius, he designed all the Chanel collections every year, also designed for Fendi, and for his own label, and was a professional photographer. He was like a volcano or an avalanche of talent, spilling over, with wonderful ideas, a never ending flow of inspiration, and a man of huge energy and unlimited creativity. I admired him so much, and everyone’s reaction to his passing, whether they knew him or not, was one of great sadness. He is a tremendous loss to the world of fashion, and the world.
Although he couldn’t have suspected it when he designed his last show, that he would no longer be among us, when it was shown on the runway—-the clothes were particularly beautiful, and almost ‘serious’, with a lot of black and white, beautiful tweeds and checks, some beiges, a great fuchsia outfit, and the end of the show was a series of beautiful white outfits, which somehow reminded me of doves flying into the sky, or angels. And the setting for the show (of clothes for winter 2019) was equally perfect: a ski village in the Alps, an exquisite snow scene, with cozy wooden ‘chalets’ lining the runway, with smoke curling from the chimneys, and snow EVERYWHERE, and photographs of the mountains under a blue sky. Everywhere one walked, when one arrived for the show was covered with ‘snow’, it looked and felt like snow, except that it wasn’t wet, and was some sort of finely cut artificial substance, which looked exactly like snow all around us, on the ground, on the wooden houses, in the trees. It felt like snow when you walked on it and somehow seemed like the perfect scene for Karl Lagerfeld’s last show. The winter of his life, his final presentation to his admirers and adoring fans and clients, deep in pure white snow, with the mountains around us, and a bright blue sunny winter sky. It was absolutely gorgeous, and so were the clothes. And as I said, the clothes were serious, beautiful, a fantastic final gift and memory from Karl.
With deep respect from all of those who were lucky enough to be invited, the show began with a long moment of silence. And after that, over the loud speaker came a brief conversation with Karl during an interview. It was touching to hear him speak, his voice so clear and decisive, so distinctive, and then the show began with serious music, and all of us riveted to hear his voice, and see the show, and it was all so beautiful on a crisp winter morning, with artificial snow beneath our feet and all around us which seemed totally real. At the end of the show, the models came back down the runway, as they always do, but without Karl this time. I was at the last Haute Couture show only a month ago, which was beautiful too, and it was the first time Karl didn’t appear to take a bow, which shocked and saddened us all, and now only a month later, he is gone. It seemed unimaginable. People stood to applaud the show, the memory of Karl, and the collection. It got a standing ovation, as the models cried as they walked down the runway, and so did most people in the audience (including Naomi Campbell, and Claudia Schiffer, the famous models), and so did I. It was so beautiful and so incredibly moving. We all continued applauding for a long time, even after the models had gone backstage. We stood there in the snow, each of us knowing that we would never forget that moment, or the show, or the snow everywhere, as we stood in front of the little chalets, under a blue sky, remembering a man who will never, ever be forgotten, and has left a legacy that is beyond understanding, with such enormous genius and talent. It was a perfect send off in the beautiful set, with his beautiful clothes on the runway, for his last collection that he designed. And then slowly, finally, we left the snowy white winterland which is where we said our last goodbye to him, each of us taking our memories with us. I will never forget that show, or the times I met him. None of us will ever forget the final goodbye to him in the snow, and many people were still crying as they left, and so was I. It was incredibly touching, so gentle, and so right on that sunny winter day in the snow….we bid our last farewell to Karl, and will treasure the memories he left us. May he sleep in peace forever, after all the joy he gave us…..it was a sweet farewell to an amazing man. I will remember it forever.
Have a great week, beloved friends, love, Danielle
ps. I just did a Podcast interview with Barnes and Noble—–here’s the link in case you’d like to listen to it.