The Real Reason Why Chanel Is Showing In Dallas

Tonight in Dallas, Texas—as anyone with the vaguest possible interest in fashion, an Instagram account, Twitter, or, you know, the Internet is well aware—Karl Lagerfeld will show Chanel. That’s right, Chanel is going to Dallas. Land of big hair, massive SUVs, and Sea Of Shoes meets little black jackets. We’ve heard wilder things.  (After all, Dallas is becoming an important stop on many brands’ US market tours, with Francisco Costa, Mary Katrantzou, Victor and Rolf, and Carolina Herrera all breezing by this year to meet with consumers.)


The big question – to the man who never fails to surprise, offend, and re-invent to the nth (almost always deeply clever) degree – is of course, why there?


He told WWD it was because he loved the lone star state:


I love Texas. I love Texans.


Easy enough.


He went on to elaborate, explaining that there’s another reason—one a bit closer to the history of Coco’s house. “When Chanel reopened, the French press was beyond nasty,” said Lagerfeld. “The only press that understood it immediately was the American press, and Neiman Marcus gave her the Oscar for her collection, so I think it’s a nice thing to go there.”


He’s talking about Chanel’s couture house reopening after WWII—something that isn’t necessarily amazingly clear in the quote. A film, which will screen before the show, will trace Coco’s steps to re-invigorating the couture house (it opened in 1954), including a 1957 trip to Dallas to receive the Neiman Marcus Award for Distinguished Service in the Field of Fashion. 


Lagerfeld referenced the visit as “as “a little detail” to “make a whole story”—the story behind the (rodeo and cowboy-inspired?) collection.


We’ve heard it’s a bit more.


According to one downtown DJ turned Chanel ambassador, Karl chose Dallas because that’s where Chanel briefly fled after her relationship with SS officer Walter Schellenberg (which allowed her to keep residence at the Ritz in Paris throughout Nazi Germany’s occupation) went public. Most biographers say she spent her time in Switzerland before returning to Paris in 1953. And the Basel granted gossip – over more than a couple cocktails no doubt  –is just that. Gossip by way of the source of Karl-isms. In other words, the closest thing to the truth.