Fashion Weeks

Highlights from Karl Lagerfeld’s final Chanel show

The Chanel FW19 show marked Karl Lagerfeld's last ever collection for the brand
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Karl Lagerfeld openly spoke out about detesting funerals. He would prefer, he told a French reporter in 2015, to “disappear like animals [do] into the virgin forest.” Amongst the snow-covered trees imported for his last Chanel runway at the Grand Palais in Paris this week, the godfather of fashion arguably got his final wish.

The iconic Parisian landmark was reimagined as a winter Alpine chocolate box chalet village for the Chanel FW19 show. Known for his cinematic-precision in creating his runway sets, each of the 12 chalets which acted as the backdrop for the show were complete with smoke drifting from each chimney, lace curtains, carved shutters, and wooden balconies. The audience were seated on long rows of wooden benches, while models walked through powdery snow along a tree-lined ‘road’ through the village which formed the catwalk, with a floor to ceiling mountain scene completing the compelling transformation into a French ski village.

On each seat at the show, there was a picture which Lagerfeld drew of himself and Coco Chanel with an inscription reading “The beat goes on…” The phrase no doubt refers to Lagerfeld’s personal dislike of reminiscing about the past, and also the maison’s desire for a smooth transition following the loss of Lagerfeld, who transformed the brand from its unpopularity in the late 70s and early 80s to  bringing it back to an iconic and vital label over his 36 year tenure.

The show started with a minutes silence honouring Lagerfeld, followed by a recording oh him at previous Chanel shows, the show then began with Cara Delevingne taking the lead in checked wool trousers, a silk shirt, tweed houndstooth coat and trilby hat. The collection was full of classic Chanel colours and tweed with a wintery ‘chalet chic’ theme.

By the end of the show, the collection received a standing ovation, with many of the models shedding a tear. Although Chanel will hold a separate remembrance service for their iconic fashion director, it is no doubt his dominance on the Chanel catwalk, for over 30 years, that will be the way many remember him.

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