Today, Chanel presented its first runway show since the death of Karl Lagerfeld, its longstanding creative director, who passed away from pancreatic cancer on February 19 in Paris. The Fall 2019 show, which took place at the Grand Palais, is said to be Lagerfeld’s final collection for the storied Parisian maison, which he’s helmed for 36-years.
Shortly after his passing, Alain Wertheimer, CEO of Chanel announced that Virginie Viard, Lagerfeld’s right hand and collaborator for more than 30 years, will succeed the late German designer with the creative work for the collections. The decision comes “so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on,” read Chanel’s statement.
Below, everything you need to know about the Chanel Fall 2019 ready-to-wear show.
When it came to staging a Chanel runway show, nothing was off limits for Karl Lagerfeld. Season after season, the Parisian maison’s longtime creative director defied expectations and transported his audience into a fantasy world via elaborate productions that serve as a backdrop to the collection. Among the most memorable Chanel runway show set designs: a mock supermarket stocked with Chanel-branded products, clusters of crystal shards splitting through the ground, and a chic airport terminal complete with check-in counters, boarding gates, and luggage carts. For Fall 2019, buyers, editors, and brand loyalists were welcomed into a wintry village surrounded by mountains. The set was complete with snow-covered pine trees, fake snow, alpine chalets, and wooden benches, which served as the guest’s seats.
Each guest received a postcard with a sketch of the designer, sporting his signature, platinum ponytail, black sunglasses and suit, alongside Coco Chanel, who was depicted wearing a hat and tweed suit. The illustrations appeared alongside the words “The beat goes on”. Similarly, at the Fendi Fall 2019 ready-to-wear show during Milan Fashion Week, guests were greeted with a card on their seat featuring the date the designer passed away alongside his signature, and copies of his last sketches for the fashion house.
There was a one-minute-long silence for the late designer before his longtime muse Cara Delevingne opened the show, wearing a head-to-toe checkered look. The British model and the German designer had a very close relationship. After his passing, Delevingne posted a series of emotional tributes for Lagerfeld on her Instagram page, writing that “Every time I try and write about this man, all I do is cry. He changed my life, he believed in me when so many others didn’t, including myself.” Other models to walk the Fall 2019 show included Kaia Gerber, Vittoria Ceretti, Nora Attal, and Yasmin Wijnaldum. Brand ambassador Penélope Cruz made her runway debut, wearing a ruffled mini dress and carrying a white rose. Plenty of the models couldn’t contain their tears as they walked down the catwalk, including Mariacarla Boscono.
Lagerfeld’s last collection for Chanel was punctuated with bright outerwear, houndstooth coats, tweed ensembles, checkered prints, graphic knitwear, boater hats, and white, feathered mini-dresses. Accessories included bold, standout jewelry, such as bandana-inspired chokers engraved with the Chanel logo, pearl-adorned earrings and necklaces, and brooches. There was also plenty of belting and shearling galoshes.
The celebrities in attendance
A drove of A-listers, supermodels, Hollywood stars, and brand loyalists descended upon Paris’s Grand Palais to pay their respects to the kaiser. Celebrities in attendance included Naomi Campbell and Kristen Stewart, who emerged from their FROW seats for a standing ovation during the emotional finale. Claudia Schiffer, Karen Elson, Brandi Quionnes, and Liu Wen were also all in attendance.