Karl Lagerfeld

FAMILY AFFAIR: After Chanel brand ambassador Lily-Rose Depp last year, Karl Lagerfeld himself will switch on the Christmas lights on the Avenue des Champs-Élysées in Paris, symbolizing the famed retail thoroughfare’s shift toward a more upscale positioning.

The designer, who helms Chanel and Fendi, in addition to his own Karl Lagerfeld brand, is set to inaugurate the holiday decorations at a ceremony on Nov. 22 alongside Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

“Karl Lagerfeld is a great designer and one of the leading personalities of the 21st century,” Jean-Noël Reinhardt, president of the Comité des Champs-Elysées, told a press conference on Thursday. “He marvelously embodies the values of French excellence that we try to promote.”

Reinhardt noted that Lagerfeld’s appearance comes at a time of intense activity on the street, with the planned arrival in the next 12 months of the Galeries Lafayette department store, an Apple flagship, and new boutiques for Dior Couture and Dior Parfums, Bulgari, Chanel Parfums, Lancôme and Nike.

The Champs-Elysées is also set to welcome new corporate offices for companies including Chanel, which will move some of its staff to the building housing the new Galeries Lafayette flagship, which is officially set to open in March, the official noted.

“Obviously, this is part of the upgrading of the avenue,” he said. “It prefigures a very deep transformation of retail in the 8th arrondissement over the 20 years to come, and I think the reconfiguration is going to accelerate in the next few years, because the reality is that the luxury client of tomorrow is on the Champs-Elysées.”

Lighting specialist Blachère Illumination will illuminate the 400 plane trees dotted along the 1.4-mile street with a new red color scheme – a bold move that Reinhardt hopes will trigger conversation around Paris. The lights will be turned on between 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. from Nov. 22 to Jan. 9, and will stay on all night on Dec. 24 and 31.

Galeries Lafayette on Wednesday kicked off the season, unveiling its holiday decorations in the presence of Piaget brand ambassador Jessica Chastain. The jewelry brand designed the massive Christmas tree under the historic cupola of the department store’s flagship on Boulevard Haussmann.

Rival store Printemps was set to reveal its holiday windows on Thursday in the presence of model and actress Laetitia Casta, representing French jeweler Boucheron.