Karl Lagerfeld’s Final Chanel Show: A Bittersweet Winter Wonderland

“It was a celebration of Karl.”

Photo Credit: Yanshan Zhang/Getty Images

Karl Lagerfeld’s shock death at the age of 85 during fashion month sent shock waves through the very industry that dubbed him a legend. Despite the controversy that surrounded his name on a few occasions during his career, Lagerfeld’s reign over Chanel helped transform the haute-couture brand from dormant fashion to fairy-tale couture that brought in $9.6 billion in annual sales.

Lagerfeld once said: “People tend to forget, that once upon a time, Chanel was old hat. It was only Parisian doctors’ wives who still wore it. Nobody wanted it, it was hopeless.”

Perhaps one of Lagerfeld’s best moves was bringing society’s biggest “It-Girls” along for the Chanel journey. Names such as Kristen Stewart, Lily-Rose Depp, Bella Hadid and Willow Smith gave the brand a touch of edginess that appealed to younger audiences.

The Chanel fashion shows that were otherwise thought of as a flashy niche showcase were turned into immersive worlds of blockbuster proportions under Lagerfeld’s guidance.

The prolific designer’s final show proved to be a beautiful, bittersweet echo of the classic French inspired beauty that he loved. Following the spring/summer 2019 Chanel-on-sea beach show, his final show transported the audience to an Alpine town in winter.

Photo Credit: Refinery 29

The Grand Palais, of which was Lagerfeld’s favourite show space, was redecorated to allow guests to walk into a winter wonderland complete with a mountain range backdrop, Chanel branded skis and alpine chalets, and an icy snow-covered runway.

Lagerfeld’s snowy final show was co-designed by his long-time collaborator and newly appointed successor, Virginie Viard.

The show began with a moment of silence to pay respects to Lagerfeld, followed by an audio of his voice that was played over the tannoy.

Led by one of Lagerfeld’s muses, Cara Delevingne, who opened the show in a classic tweed suit; the show also featured a long line of Chanel models and muses that Lagerfeld had anointed.

Cara Delevingne. Photo Credit: Vogue

Among them, a surprise guest appearance by actress and recent campaign star, Penelope Cruz, which proved to be a sombre farewell. Cruz, of whom was a long-time friend of Lagerfeld’s, closed the show dressed as an enchanting snow queen carrying a single white rose. This was Cruz’ first-ever runway walk.

Penelope Cruz. Photo Credit: Swan Gallet/WWD

Backstage hairstylist, Sam McKnight, said: “I gave him all the things he loved: camellias, bows, brooches in the hair.”

McKnight also channelled classic styles that Lagerfeld loved, such as loose, natural textures, hair pulled half-back and ponytails with black grosgrain ribbons, seed pearls or enamel barrettes.

The clothing featured on the runway was everything you’d want and expect from a Lagerfeld-Chanel affair, with monochrome houndstooth looks, accessories that carried literal representations of Lagerfeld’s vision, several Chanel logo bandanas and a number of bright colours that stood boldly against the snowy white backdrop.

Alberte Mortensen. Photo Credit: Peter White/Getty Images

Loyal A-listers, such as model Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer, actress Kristen Stewart, mogul Janelle Monáe and many more, proved their loyalty and adoration for Lagerfeld as they sat watching the show – dressed head-to-toe in Chanel, of course.

Kristen Stewart and Janelle Monáe. Photo Credit: Refinery 29

The finale was, as expected, the most emotional moment of the entire show. Models walked arm-in-arm to David Bowie’s track, “Heroes”– a true tribute to Lagerfeld. Model Mariacarla Boscono shed tears on the runway, while Chanel muse Caroline de Maigret and many more guests wiped away tears from the audience.

Photo Credit: Refinery 29

All in all, Lagerfeld’s final show was all that we had thought it would be. A beautiful, bittersweet farewell to the designer that made us fall in love with a luxury label once more through his breathtaking vision and creative genius.

Take a look at a few of the other highlights from the show:

Let us know what you think of Lagerfeld’s final snowy show in the comments down below!