designer, Fashion Dictionary, Fashion history

Lagerfeld and Chanel

Now as we are waiting for Chanel and Karl’s shows I thought it would be nice to get to the roots of Lagerfeld’s.

The legendary Coco Chanel died in 1971 and sadly the “Chanel magic” seemed to have gone with her until German-born Karl Lagerfeld took over as design director in 1983. He took the classic – some mighth say now “frumpy” – Chanel signature touches and infised them whis his own vision, turning the whole look on its ear. The result was instant cool and Chanel went center stage for the rest of the decade.
Lagerfeld took the traditional mid-calf length Chanel skirt, slashed the hem up with a micro-mini suit. He used electric pink and lime green tartan tweeds, along with denim and leather, and he took Chanel’s classic baroque pearls, traditionally made by the Maison Gripoix in Paris, and blew them up to the size of golf balls while her honey-colored old gold chains went shiny and brash.
Lagerfeld’s vocabilary of in-your-face overstatement was nowhere more successful than in his use and some might say “abuse” of the “CC” logo. Coco herself had this logo placed discreetly on the buttons of some of her clothes but with Lagerfeld at the helm, the 1980s Chanel look became a logo extravaganza.
Lagerfeld’s Chanel collections were wildly and proudly expensive. A made-to-measure suit cost well over $10 000, while even an off-the-peg version could run to $4 000. A single infamous jacket in one collection bore an eye-popping $75 000 price tag so Yuppies shelling out this money were glad that their clothning would advertise that fact. Lagerfeld’s love affair with the “CC” logo fitted in perfectly with the 1980s Zeitgeist and proved to be a shrewd marketing tool. Sales of Chanel clothning, accessories and perfume sky-rocketed and boutiques sprang up all over the world.

1980s Vintage Karl.

Second-hand Chanel from the 1980s and 1990s has always commanded high prices at the better dress agencies (consignment houses) because there have always been woman who wanted the status and the look but couldn’t or wouldn’t pay for it. Lately though, 1980s Chanel is turning up in vintage shopd where prices are buoyant. Chanel couture from this period wouldbe a real find but even ready-to-wear is hostly pursued. Suits command the best prices while dresses, blouses and knitwear make good bargain purchases.
During the 1980s carnival of glitzy costume jewelry, the Chanel company produced a qautity of styles loosely based on Coco’s earlier designs and these are well worth snapping up. Long glit chains with pearls and colored glass beads, especially in her signature red agnd green, are sought after. Poured glass brooches and necklaces are great finds and because of the difficulty in manufacturing them, tented to be faked less. Beware, though – even these 1980s versions are fragile and must be worn and stored with care.
Unfortunately, during the whole 1980s logo extravaganza, fakes of the bestselling luxury goods were produced in huge numbers and survive today, confusing the vintage situation. Chanel jewelry was particularly targeted so take care when paying high prices. Genuine Chanel costume jewelry usually bears a tiny oval plate stamped “Chanel”. This plate is soldered on to the back of an earing, brooch, or cuff bracelet while necklaces tend to have one dangling near the catch. This signature plate usually gives the date of manufacture in two digits -“87” or “88” for example- and specifies it was “Made in France”.

example of 80s jewellery

Frustratingly, some fakes also bear this plate but the “Chanel” and the date stamp (if itexists) tend to be fuzzier on knock-offs, so look for good clear lettering when you are trying to assess authenticity. Weight is also a good indicator. A genuine piece will be heavier and feel more solid than a mass.produced knock-off.

Avoid pieces labeled “Chanel Créations” as these ase usually poorly made. Prices for these are justifiably dirt cheap.Juliet


This was from my storage, I didn’t want to post about Paris as they haven’t yet quite downloaded anything online.


12 thoughts on “Lagerfeld and Chanel

  1. I so love chanel. I might not be the typical chanel-wearer, but I LOVE IT and I love Karl Lagerfeld..You get well dear.. <3

  2. I just read a great biography on Chanel called “Chanel and her world”. She is fascinating – she basically invented the modern woman’s wardrobe!Love your blog btw!

  3. I love Chanel and like most, love Karl’s vision of this label. And I’m still saving up for one of their quilted bags….

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