Chanel Celebrates Karl Lagerfeld’s Legacy

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The Grand Palais in Paris transformed into a wintry, Swiss alpine village, full of fantastical fashion for Chanel’s last collection under Karl Lagerfeld’s legacy. The late designer, who passed away in February, was not absent from the show. Lagerfeld was present in the atmosphere, as a recording of his voice played before the show, speaking in French and saying things such as, “It’s like walking in a painting.” His hand was apparent in the detailed and breathtaking set, complete with faux snow, chalets, and a mountainside backdrop. His spirit also lived on through the attendees and models. Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer, two of Lagerfeld’s longtime muses and friends, sat front row to pay tribute to the designer. Other Chanel favorites like Kristen Stewart, Marion Cotilliard, and Janelle Monae were also in attendance, while Cara Delevingne and Penelope Cruz walked the frosty runway. Most of all, Lagerfeld’s presence was palpable in the fashion.

The Fall/Winter 2019 collection was fit for Lagerfeld’s winter wonderland, strong in tweed, houndstooth, and plaid outerwear. Delevingne opened the show in a black-and-white look comprised of a plaid jumpsuit worn under a houndstooth coat. A layered beaded necklace cascaded down the front in classic Chanel fashion and a coordinating hat topped the look. Cruz appeared towards the end of the show, in a monochromatic white look featuring a ruffled top and feathered skirt. She carried a single white rose in a sweet gesture towards Lagerfeld. Other looks included a series of aprés ski appropriate fair isle-inspired separates done in cozy knits. A luxe interpretation of the pattern was also rendered in sequins and beads on several pieces. Lagerfeld’s playfulness was also visible in a whimsical print featuring small figures skiing, which appeared on sheer silk dresses and skintight snowsuits.

As the models took the final walk, many teary eyed, David Bowie’s “Heroes” played. It was the same song used for the finale of Lagerfeld’s last Fendi show in Milan the previous week. Virginie Viard, Lagerfeld’s successor and longtime righthand woman at Chanel, was absent from the runway. Lagerfeld’s final show reflected the influence he had on the fashion world, as a sense of mourning but also celebration overcame the audience. As his passing marks an end of an era at Chanel, where he defined fashion and created a legacy, the fashion house left a personal illustration from Lagerfeld for attendees to take home with them. The sketch by Lagerfeld depicts him arm-in-arm with Coco Chanel, showing him with his signature ponytail and sunglasses and the house’s founder in her iconic suit. The picture is accompanied by a final message from Lagerfeld, “The beat goes on…”

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