It’s the prime spot in Chanel‘s seasonal Couture Show, and often the most talked-about look. And this year’s Fall 2018 finale piece ended up making headlines not only for its masterfulness, but also due to the woman wearing it. Sudanese-Australian model Adut Akech Bior became the second-ever model of color to close the show, after being handpicked by Karl Lagerfeld as his ‘Chanel bride’ of the season. The fashion darling joined the ranks of models selected for the spot in collections past, including Cara Delevingne, Luna Bijl, and Alek Wek. The latter was the first model of color to close Chanel’s haute couture show, back in 2004.
For her star turn at the Grand Palais, Akech Bior wore a wedding skirt-suit in a soft pistachio hue, elegantly embellished throughout the front and sleeves. The upturned collar and fluted cuffs may have been imbued with a certain nostalgia, but the skirt, with its thigh-high split, and matching embroidered ankle boots, routed the look in the modern day. It is not the first time the 18-year-old model, who was born in South Sudan, has walked for the heritage French maison, having opened Chanel’s Cruise show earlier this year.
As headlines proclaiming her landmark role in this year’s display began to swirl, Akech Bior herself admitted she was overwhelmed by the casting, calling it her “proudest achievement.” “There is no amount of words that can express what this moment means to me. The beauty of having a dream, is watching it come to life,” the model told her 124,000 Instagram followers. “It was a lifetime honor being the chosen bride to close your beautiful show in the most breathtaking dress I have ever seen. This was just a special moment that I will always remember and cherish for as long as I live.” Akech Bior also paid tribute to those that have supported her, and sent an encouraging message to those hoping to follow in her footsteps. “No matter who you are, where you come from or what you have, as long as you have a dream it is achievable,” she wrote. “Put in hard work, give it your all, stay dedicated, determined and, most importantly, never give up, because you will make that dream a reality at some point.”
The model was joined at the end of the show by head creative director Lagerfeld, as well as fellow Chanel muse and child model Hudson Kroenig. Akech Bior, who has also walked for Christian Dior and Givenchy during Couture Week, made her international fashion week runway debut for Saint Laurent in 2016.