If we ignore all tradition and history, Chanel's clothes have been adequate in aesthetic design and characteristics as of late. Lagerfeld has been consistent in his positive, fun designs and has created a legend of sorts around his fantastical runway shows. But, alas, Chanel is, well, Chanel, and we cannot ignore the history of possibly the most famous fashion house; the brand whose name is almost interchangeable with high fashion itself.
If we judge Chanel rightfully along with its history, the brand is going through a new era, to say the least. Lagerfeld's designs look one part Chanel and two Dr. Seuss; a collection of clownish and exaggeratedly themed clothes with vague hints back to Chanel — tattered, candy colored tweeds or blinged out interlocking c's. I've got nothing wrong with this aesthetic, but when you attach it a house with such heavy history like Chanel, it just doesn't make sense. I would hate to see Chanel stuck in the past, but when you contradict it with a different reputation, is the character really even moving forward?
The clothes are most definitely worthy, just not of the Chanel name. Chanel should be evolving, but there are modern ways to achieve the elegance and sophistication of the past and bring it to the present. And the excuse of times are changing and the consumers are too won't cut it, either. There will always be an audience for the chic and sophisticated, no matter the culture of the era.
Mr. Lagerfeld's most recent collection for Chanel, resort 2016, was fun, if not even comical. A classical Chanel foundation is obviously evident, but Mr. Lagerfeld stayed true to the brand in the material sense instead of the spirit conveyed. In other words, you can tell that he based it off of the "real" Chanel, but all the graceful auras are missing. It's Chanel, but only technically. I'm afraid that the old Chanel, the Chanel I haven't lived to see, will be forgotten and thought of only in a legendary sense, and replaced by this new Chanel, the only Chanel I've ever known.
This is the new classic Chanel, this is the new legend. The old tones may be gone, but the prestige is not; Chanel will forever fit the times, even if that means disfiguring the heritage.