Karl Lagerfeld’s Secret Weapon


Chanel’s nautical-inspired cruise collection makes landfall with a quartet of star models: Joan Smalls, Natasha Poly, Yasmin Wijnaldum, and Hannah Ferguson.


Glitter tweed dress, beret, $800, both, Chanel. Beauty Tip: Paint lips petal- pink with Chanel Rouge Coco Ultra Hydrating Lip Colour in Edith ($37).


Cotton tweed jacket, lambskin shorts, $5,850, beret, $725, necklace, $2,850, brooches, $900–$975 each, bracelets, $2,375 each, all,Chanel.


Metallized-lambskin jacket, $8,850, pants, striped toile shirt, $1,600, tweed beret, $725, necklaces, $3,700–$6,000 each, bracelets, $2,275 each, handbag, $4,500, all, Chanel.

Karl’s Secret Weapon


Lambskin jacket, brooches, $550–$625 each, bracelets, $1,775 each, pumps, $850, all, Chanel. Gold rings, both, Chanel Fine Jewelry, $3,300– $3,350 each. Her own Chanel pants, vintage top.

I hate being in the spotlight,” admits Chanel fashion studio director Virginie Viard, who’s worked alongside Karl Lagerfeld since (nearly) the beginning. Her tenure at Chanel started in 1987 when a family friend Prince Rainier’s chamberlain, recommended Viard to the designer for an internship. The two creatives have been inseparable ever since. She followed him to Chloé in 1992, and back to Chanel in 1997. At October’s show at the Grand Palais, she even joined him for his bow.

Viard says their process begins when Lagerfeld completes one of his famous colored-pencil-and-pastel sketches, which he still does by hand. “I immediately dispatch each sketch to each première d’atelier, according to her skills and capabilities. I visualize the show, get things ready for him, decide on materials, coordinate the teams, and liaise with suppliers,” she says. “I like to think of myself as the one who helps his vision come alive.”

Lagerfeld describes their partnership thusly: “She is my right rector Virginie Viard, hand and my left hand,” he says. “Our relationship is essential, doubled by a very real friendship and affection.” Adds Viard, “I try to—to anticipate what he would like. I love to please him but also surprise him.” Over the years, she has gotten to know the private Lagerfeld. “He is very sensitive, like all creative people, but very faithful, generous—which might not be what people would guess.”

For the cruise collection shown here, “Karl had this amazing idea to actually take people on a cruise,” Viard says. When no ship was available, Lagerfeld, Viard, and team made do by having a life-size cruise ship constructed within the Grand Palais.

On December 4, the house will present its Métiers d’art collection at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. What wonders Lagerfeld has in store is anyone’s guess. What’s for certain: Viard will be there, transforming his dreams into reality. – Véronique Hyland


On Smalls: Iridescent cotton tweed jacket, $4,950, pants, $4,150, beret, $925, brooch, $825, bracelets, $700–$4,600 each, pumps, $850, all, Chanel. On Charlie Siem: Sweater, Chanel. Pants, from Les Mauvais Garçons. Cap, Maison Michel. Oxfords, J.M. Weston.

Who’s That Guy?

His name is Charlie Siem, and that violin is not a mere prop.The 32-year-old has been playing for nearly three decades and has performed alongsideLady Gaga, Miley Cyrus, and theWho. (His current instrument isa Guarneri from 1735.) Siem has been, as he puts it, “adoptedby the fashion world,” after Lagerfeld plucked him from symphonic obscurity to appear in his Little Black Jacket series.The two men bonded over a love of classical music and sharp dressing. “I remember sitting with Karl once at the Café de Flore in Paris. He said, ‘You and

I are the only people wearing ties.’ ” Though their friendship has afforded Siem a seat at Chanel shows, his next stop is far from the fashion capitals: He’ll be heading to Kazakhstan this month for a concert.


Cotton tweed knit top, skirt, beret, $925, belt, $1,725, bracelets, $1,250– $1,775 each, all,Chanel.


On Poly (near left): Lambskin jacket, skirt, beret, $925, brooch, $700, handbag, $4,500, pumps, $850, all, Chanel. Diamond and white gold bracelets, rings, all, Chanel Fine Jewelry.


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