Anna Wintour described the loss, saying: “Today the world lost a giant among men. Karl was so much more than our greatest and most prolific designer — his creative genius was breathtaking and to be his friend was an exceptional gift. Karl was brilliant, he was wicked, he was funny, he was generous beyond measure, and he was deeply kind. I will miss him so very much.”
On Tuesday, the French fashion house showed Lagerfeld's final collection for Chanel in Paris. It was a spectacle unlike any other, but it was a shock to the system, too — a somber reminder that one of the most prolific designers is gone. It was always going to be emotional, but with tears and tributes aplenty, the fall 2019 show marked an era ended.
For weeks, an outpouring of adoration and tributes for the iconic (and often controversial) German designer has dominated social media. Vogue Italia's next issue sees Lagerfeld on its cover. And several exhibitions are set to open in his honor over the next few months, from Zurich to Atlanta, and bien sûr, Paris. Because what other way to celebrate a larger-than-life figure than ceremonious, souped-up displays of his greatest works ad infinitum? As the industry will never be the same, it will mourn Lagerfeld for some time.
As displayed at the Grand Palais, the iconic home of Chanel shows for the past few decades, Lagerfeld turned runway shows into million-dollar, Insta-bait spectacles; his productions as creative director of Chanel were breathtaking, and worth of endless rolls of film. From a space rocket to a sandy beach, an enchanted forest to a Havana street party, no expense was spared when creating the immersive Chanel world. They were the antithesis of the intimacy its founder Coco Chanel created with her salons, back in the '30s and '40s, but integral to Lagerfeld's promise to propel the house forward — no matter how showy or flamboyant.
As editors, celebrities, and models watched Lagerfeld's final collection trot down the runway covered in snow, there wasn't a dry eye in the house. No doubt Chanel devotees look to Virginie Viard, his longtime design partner who the Wertheimer family named as his successor, to carry on his legacy. Ahead, we've compiled some of the most moving — and significant — moments of Karl Lagerfeld's last show for Chanel.