When it came to staging a Chanel runway show, nothing was off limits for Karl Lagerfeld, who passed away in Paris today. 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 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. In honor of the late prolific designer, we look back at some of his most memorable Chanel runway show sets.
FALL 2008 READY-TO-WEAR
A larger-than-life spinning carousel boasting quilted bags, camellia flowers, and perfume bottles at Chanel’s Fall 2008 ready-to-wear show.
FALL 2010 READY-TO-WEAR
Karl brought the Arctic to Paris with a glacier imported from Sweden that took center stage for Chanel’s Fall 2010 ready-to-wear show.
FALL 2010 COUTURE
Gabriel Chanel was born a Leo. Karl Lagerfeld paid homage to the designer’s astrological sign with a massive lion sculpture at Chanel Fall 2010 Haute Couture.
SPRING 2012 READY-TO-WEAR
Designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, the Grand Palais in Paris was transformed into an underwater world for the Chanel Spring 2012 ready-to-wear presentation.
SPRING 2012 COUTURE
Audiences boarded “Air Chanel”—a mock jumbo jet—to witness the Chanel Spring 2012 Haute Couture collection.
FALL 2012 READY-TO-WEAR
Go big or go home. Models maneuvered around giant crystal clusters at the Chanel Fall 2012 ready-to-wear show.
SPRING 2014 READY-TO-WEAR
Seventy-five pieces of Chanel-inspired artwork lined the faux modern art gallery runway for the Chanel Spring 2014 ready-to-wear show.
FALL 2014 READY-TO-WEAR
Who would have thought grocery shopping could be so much fun? Karl Lagerfeld brought supermarket mania to the Chanel Fall 2014 ready-to-wear show.
SPRING 2015 READY-TO-WEAR
A chic, feminist protest took place down the Boulevard Chanel runway lined with building façades at the Chanel Spring 2015 ready-to-wear show.
SPRING 2015 COUTURE
Three hundred flowers were made to decorate the Chanel Spring 2015 Haute Couture runway set that mechanically bloomed.
FALL 2015 READY-TO-WEAR
Guests pulled up a chair to a white, linen-covered table at Brasserie Gabriel at the Chanel Fall 2015 ready-to-wear show.
SPRING 2016 READY-TO-WEAR
The Grand Palais in Paris was transformed into an airport terminal for Chanel Spring 2016 ready-to-wear, where every jet-setting detail was splashed with double Cs.
SPRING 2016 COUTURE
A minimal, wooden, mechanical structure that mimicked a doll’s house complete with a pathway surrounded by real grass and a pond served as the backdrop for Chanel Spring 2016 Haute Couture.
FALL 2017 READY-TO-WEAR
Notorious for otherworldly sets and elaborate backdrops, the creative director transformed the Grand Palais into a stylish space center complete with a rocket ship centerpiece for Chanel Fall 2017 ready-to-wear.
SPRING 2019 COUTURE
For his last collection, the Chanel Spring 2019 Couture show, the designer invited press, celebrities, and industry insiders to his fairytale version of a pool party, complete with a Mediterranean villa backdrop, palm trees, manicured gardens, and a massive pool in the center, which models including Nora Attal, Kaia Gerber, and Grace Elizabeth paraded around.
Now Read: Karl Lagerfeld Dies in Paris