Karl Lagerfeld had a fashionable farewell at the Fall 2019 Chanel show in Paris

By Colleen Kratofil
March 05, 2019 09:08 AM
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Chanel presented the final collection designed by its longtime creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, on Tuesday that left models in tears.

The brand’s Fall/Winter 2019 show took place at the Grand Palais in Paris, featuring a transformative set decorated as a glamorous winter ski wonderland, and filled with touching tributes to the late designer, Lagerfeld, who died at the age of 85 on February 19.

A note with a sketch that Lagerfeld drew of himself and Chanel founder, Coco Chanel, with the words, “The beat goes on…” was placed on each attendees’ seat. And a minute of silence was observed before the show began, insiders report.

Many of his muses that regularly model in his shows, including Cara Delevingne and Kaia Gerber walked the runway, wearing a winter-ready suit and a snowball dress, respectively, from his last collection.

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And another famous face, Penélope Cruz, who usually sits on the sidelines, unexpectedly walked the show, wearing a snowball-like dress with feathery bubble skirt and tiered top, carrying a white rose.

Many of his famous friends and fashion insiders who regularly line the front row were all present, including actresses Kristen Stewart, Janelle Monae, Marion Cotillard and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.

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His former muses, Claudia Schiffer (who memorably wore his finale wedding gowns throughout the ’90s) and fellow supermodel Naomi Campbell were on-hand to take in his final collection together.

During the finale, models walked the runway together noticeably moved and crying during their final walk to the song, “Heroes” by David Bowie.

Attendees including Wintour and longtime Vogue editor Grace Coddington led the standing ovation from the audience.

Lagerfeld was also the creative director for his own eponymous label as well as the Italian line, Fendi, where he worked for the last 54 years.

Two weeks ago, Fendi also paid tribute to him during its show at Milan Fashion Week by playing a video of Lagerfeld sketching the outfit he wore on his very first day at work at the label in 1965.

According to WWD, despite being absent from taking a bow at the end of his Chanel Haute Couture show in January, Lagerfeld was still working on all of his brands right up until his death. In fact, he gave instructions to his teams for the Fendi fall ready-to-wear collection.

Lagerfeld was very clear in how he would like to be honored after his death. He wished to have his ashes mixed with his mother’s and his late partner, Jacques de Bascher’s and did not want to have a funeral ceremony.

His brand announced that they would respect his wishes, and the week he died, friends and fashion industry insiders paid their respects at his cremation in France. Editors Anna Wintour and Carine Roitfeld were on-hand as well has Monaco’s Princess Caroline.

Lagerfeld took up the helm at Chanel in 1983 and remained as creative director until his death. He notably told The New Yorker that he only accepted the job at Chanel once enough people urged him not to. “Everybody said, ‘Don’t touch it, it’s dead, it will never come back.’ But by then I thought it was a challenge.”

He’s credited for reviving the brand founded by Coco Chanel, which had lost its prominence in the years before Lagerfeld joined. As the designer told WWD, “Nobody cared about [Chanel] anymore. She was the most démodé thing in the world.”

Now, its quilted bags, tweed suits and interlocking CC logo are the most sought-after pieces in fashion.