My First CHANEL: A Tribute to Karl Lagerfeld

My First CHANEL: A Tribute to Karl Lagerfeld - CHANEL boy wallet - She Sweats Diamonds

With the loss of one of fashion’s biggest icons, Karl Lagerfeld, today is indeed a very sad day for those of us who love and work in the fashion community. As tributes and condolences pour in to his family and the CHANEL brand, it got me thinking about the story and history of this quintessential fashion house.

To me, CHANEL is the top household name when it comes to the fashion world. I mean, saying ‘CHANEL’ just makes you feel classier and more sophisticated, doesn’t it? For me, the CHANEL brand is just that. The name is not only iconic, but their pieces and collections are so timeless to a point where our great grandparents know the name so well too.

Speaking of, my future children will know the CHANEL brand as its name will always be a symbol of classic style until the end of time.

Karl Lagerfeld left such a massive legacy behind. His creative eye is the reason many of us fashion lovers have something CHANEL in our closets. Karl has shown that there is no such thing as dreaming small. His grandiose ideas (you’d know what I’m talking about if you’ve seen his shows) have always provoked an artistic and imaginative spark inside of me.

Aside from my friend, Jamie of The Anti Color, Karl also influenced me to take a look at the color black in a different way and really made me like to wear this classic color again too.

Karl’s loss also took me down memory lane to the moment I received my very first CHANEL. 

In fact, 2016 was my “Year of CHANEL” in terms of fashion.

I received my first vintage CHANEL piece on September 20, 2016 from my brother’s girlfriend, Jen. My brother texted and said she was cleaning out her closet and wanted to know if I wanted a particular bag from her collection. 

“Um, what?” I asked. “You mean as in for nothing?” “Yep, FREE-99!” he responded back.

And just like that, the first vintage CHANEL piece was added to my wardrobe. As for my first brand-new, out-of-the-box CHANEL? That moment came almost two months later.

I remember receiving my first brand-new CHANEL piece like it was yesterday.

On November 3, 2016, my brother texted me from inside a CHANEL boutique in Vegas. He was showing me short video clips and asking questions on which wallet I thought was better. Three days later, I pulled at the black and white ribbon to open my very first CHANEL box.

I had received a Lambskin Boy CHANEL Zipped Wallet from my brother as a belated birthday gift. And here I was thinking I was helping him choose a gift for his then-girlfriend! Needless to say, 2016 was definitely a memorable year for me, CHANEL-wise.

I may not have had the chance to meet Karl or experience his creative vision at his shows. However, I’m sure darn blessed to have a few pieces of who Karl was as a designer as well as the story of the woman who started it all: Gabrielle Chanel, whose story he kept alive and honored through his work.

Karl, thank you for sharing your passion with the world. You and your dedication to the fashion world will be missed. To Karl’s family and the CHANEL family, my heart is with you. Virginie Viard, I wish you all the best in this new chapter as you take the reigns. You can never be a Karl. You can only be you and I cannot wait to see your work as you write CHANEL’s next chapter. As you create, just know that Karl is with you.

I leave you with one of my favorite #KarlQuotes:

I design like I breathe. You don’t ask to breathe. It just happens. — Karl Lagerfeld Share on X

I hope you enjoyed my “first CHANEL” story. Someday, I cannot wait to walk into a boutique to experience choosing a classic bag as a treat to myself. Until then, I will keep hustling and dreaming!

If you have something from this infamous fashion house, please tell me…

What’s your “first CHANEL” story?

Note: Two things: 1) I’m all about quality over quantity when it comes to my wardrobe. To me, I see fashion as an investment, not as a cost. I love CHANEL not only for their classy aesthetic, but for its return on investment. and 2) My post is a tribute is to who Karl was as a designer not as a person. If you want to get to know his professional side more, here are some touching tributes from other fashion designers.