hedi for chanel? karl lagerfeld’s slinky jacket choice in cuba puts the rumor mill into overdrive

It has long been rumored that Hedi Slimane’s next move could be to Chanel, and Karl Lagerfeld’s decision to wear a Slimane design for his victory lap in Havana has only added fuel to the fire.

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May 4 2016, 1:06pm

We've been deep in the fashion musical chairs game for months now: starting when Raf Simons made his shocking decision to leave Dior back in October, Hedi Slimane's departure from -- and Anthony Vaccarello joining -- Saint Laurent last month, Stefano Pilati's exit from Ermenegildo Zegna (Armani takeover rumors in tow), departures at Berluti and Brioni, as well as Jonathan Saunders shuttering his label and the various rumors swirling around his next move.

Ever since Slimane left Saint Laurent at the start of April (and perhaps even before then), front row whispers put him in position to take over from Lagerfeld at Chanel, when the seemingly bionic German designer decides to step away from the French fashion house -- something that still seems impossible to imagine.

Now, Karl Lagerfeld himself has added fuel to these rumors, with a dashing sartorial choice for his lap of victory at the Chanel resort 17 show in Havana, Cuba: a red-gold sequined jacket designed by Hedi Slimane for Saint Laurent. Could Karl be signaling toward a future when Hedi's designs are seen rather more regularly on the Chanel runway?

Even Karl's cat Choupette is getting in on the speculative action, posting on Instagram "There might be more to Daddy @KarlLagerfeld's Hedi Slimane for @YSL jacket than meets the eye. #HediSlimane to design menswear at @ChanelOfficial?"

Indeed, the new rumor whisking along the frow is that Hedi will launch the first ever standalone Chanel menswear collection, potentially then heading up both menswear and womenswear when Karl steps away. Industry insiders are convinced the French-Tunisian is already beavering away in the Chanel archives.

Certainly it would make sense for Chanel menswear to be designed by someone with Lagerfeld's seal of approval, shown through his decision to wear the sequin jacket in Havana and in several interviews in which Karl has said he is a fan of Hedi's work. But could Baptiste Giabiconi and Brad Koenig squeeze into skinny jeans? Much remains to be seen.

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Text Charlotte Gush
Image via Instagram