Vanessa Paradis Talks Karl Lagerfeld and Her Enduring Love for Chanel

Vanessa Paradis needs as little introduction as her relationship with the house of Chanel, for whom she’s been an ambassador since 1991, when she famously swung from a glamorous trapeze swing in black feathers for L’esprit de Chanel. In fact, Paradis reflected backstage after the Chanel Fall/Winter 2018 show, it was through her partnership with the house that she first discovered the world of fashion. Not a bad introduction, she recalled, citing her sincere and immense respect for Karl Lagerfeld’s approach to running the house over the years. Paradis also praised the show’s set, an enchanted forest of real trees and a bed of autumn leaves in the middle of the Grand Palais, though, she admitted, she generally tries to avoid wearing her beloved Chanel pieces on her own countryside walks.

What did you think about the show today?

“It was beautiful and so poetic—the set was magnificent. I loved it because you could smell the show before you saw it.”

As a Canadian writing for a Canadian magazine, we believe that being in the middle of a forest is the most magical place we can be—we are very in touch with nature. Are you a nature person?

“Yes, I was asked if you prefer the city or the country, I can’t choose. I love both and we have country in the middle of Paris, it’s pretty amazing.”

Do you wear Chanel for both?

“I avoid wearing Chanel in the country side. It’s such a privilege to wear Chanel clothes, you are cautious with it.”

Yes, definitely. Do you wear Chanel when you perform? when you sing? 

“I do!”

You have been working with Chanel since the early ‘90s, why does this brand mean so much to you?

“This is how I discovered fashion, well the fashion world because of course I loved clothes before I started to work with them, but the fashion-fashion, you know? The getting ready, the photo shoots, the care, and the campaigns and everything, that started when I was 18. I never knew it through a different situation, it’s pretty good to be baptised by Chanel and to stay with them. What it means to me, apart from Chanel, fashion is something to make you feel prettier and to have fun with. Then when you speak about Chanel more precisely it’s something that’s above the rest to me, above the rest in the cut,) and in the presenting and that comes from Karl. He truly tells the truth about everything he thinks. He’s such a delicate man, and working with him and all his crew, I love the way he talks to the people he works with. He includes them so much, he respects them, he praises them and so everybody has wings when working with him. People that are passionate and so professional and nice, it’s just the way the world should go around when everybody works together and listens to each other. Team effort—when the team is really speaking to each other it makes all the difference.”