Eric Pfrunder has left Chanel after 37 years at the house
Born in Algeria in the '50s and a noted cosmopolitan, Pfrunder was named joint artistic director of the house after the death of Lagerfeld in February 2019, from which time he worked alongside the house’s creative director and designer Virginie Viard. Pfrunder’s remit was to oversee advertising, marketing, films, events and digital.
However, as Viard gradually extended her influence and power in the house, and began using a wide variety of photographers – Juergen Teller, Karim Sadli or Inez & Vinoodh – Pfrunder’s influence had clearly waned at Chanel.
A spokesperson for the house confirmed that Pfrunder was no longer with Chanel.
“Eric has taken his retirement,” the spokesperson said.
According to sources, Pfrunder left the house some two months ago. His departure marks the latest person close to Lagerfeld to leave Chanel, and follows the exit of his intellectual muse Amanda Harlech. Back in November 2019, Harlech told friends and editors that she would be leaving Chanel, though her role eventually became one as a consultant to the house. Harlech was seen sitting front-row at the latest Chanel haute couture show early this month inside the Palais Galliera. Previously, during Karl’s tenure, she was always back stage at every show, surveying the cast as they exited onto the catwalk.
“Virginie’s designs have been very successful commercially, though they are quite in line with what Karl did at Chanel. So in order to mark out her terrain, and differentiate her vision she clearly felt the need for change,” commented one Chanel insider.
Pfrunder first entered Chanel back in 1983. After Lagerfeld lamented the quality of one campaign shoot in 1987 by a hired photographer, Pfrunder was the first person to suggest to Karl that he shoot the campaigns himself.
After that, no photo séance with Lagerfeld was complete without Pfrunder’s presence, most notably at 7L, Karl’s bookshop and photo studio at number 7 Rue de Lille on Paris' Left Bank. Pfrunder also played a key role in aiding Lagerfeld make the switch over from analog to digital photography.
After Lagerfeld’s death, Pfrunder was entrusted with the curation of Lagerfeld’s giant archive of campaigns, portraiture, magazine shoots and studies of architecture at which Karl particularly excelled. A position he still very much holds.
More recently, in January, Pfrunder had announced he had joined the board of Lukso, the blockchain startup.
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