You took creative control of the House of Chanel in 1983, the year I graduated public high school, age seventeen. Honestly, I had no idea who you were, and really didn’t know the brand either. That was their plan, you were brought in to resurrect all that Coco did before, and you did.
BAM, at eighteen I wanted a bag, and at nineteen I bought lipsticks, the only part of the brand I could afford. On my lunchbreak from work I would walk to the department store when department stores were still a thing, put down a day’s pay for that tube of color with the interlocking double C’s. Oh, how I felt fancy.
Fast forward marriage, and kids, and I still wanted a bag. Now I can’t even remember how I got it, the classic black 2.55. It had a separate lipstick pocket in that gorgeous dark red leather interior, genius! A little impractical, where was I going, and I usually had diapers. I had to have that bag. It started a thing for me, collecting bags. They were like jewels, a piece of art, a thing to acquire, a Chanel bag was the ultimate.
Over the years I watched you from afar, the man and the legend. Chanel ready to wear was fantasy, and haute couture out of this world. I would buy bags, and shoes, and makeup, and those accessories gave me access to that rarified French air.
I remember you going on a diet, that was when I too was all about diets, and you lost a zillion pounds, 93 to be exact, so that you could wear the look and the clothes you held in regard, Hedi Slimane. We are all mere mortals, I suppose.
A decade goes by, and now four daughters are all about bags too. What is it about a Chanel handbag? High-end luxury. By carrying a luxury bag, we can easily identify (forget about the mortgage payment) with a luxury brand. Share with the world our supreme good taste, however simply symbiotic that may seem.
That first 2.55 has been re-furbished at The Leather Spa and passed onto the babe of the family, Mimi. Your legend lives on in the arms of my eighteen-year-old.
Mr. Lagerfeld, you the multi-hyphenate; creative director, fashion designer, artist, photographer, and caricaturist, worked into your 85thyear. You could be critical, who really calls Adele out? Yet your uncompromising pursuit of excellence made things like that seem somehow forgivable.
Mr. Lagerfeld, like that first long-ago bag I had to have it was you that I wanted to wear for our family’s first wedding. Your waterfall collection was unveiled October 3, 2017, I was completely mesmerized.
Look number 57 of 90, oh, it was you. Husband and I traveled to San Francisco last June and at the Chanel Union Square I found you. Not you exactly Mr. Lagerfeld, but your dress, your design. My very first piece of Chanel ready-to-wear, it was completely transforming.
I’ll never forget how great I felt, wearing that dress, that August afternoon.
Thank you for creating so much of what modern women aspire to. Thank you for creating things of beauty, and dreams. Your Fall 2019 Collection was unveiled yesterday, posthumously. Your work will forever be in our hearts, and with a little luck, a lot of determination, and a large amount of bank, in our arms, and on our bodies.
Rest in peace, Mr. Lagerfeld, and thank you.
Rebecca, and every day dress.