From the tribute to Karl at the start of the show to the runway debut of Penelope Cruz, it was hard not to be swept by a wave of emotions.
In the wake of creative director Karl Lagerfeld’s death, the mood at the Chanel Fall 2019 show was solemn yet gracefully still. No doubt emotions were running high, along with anticipations of what his final collection would bring, but the scenic makeover of the Grand Palais (as per Karl tradition) seemed to exude an aura of comfort and serenity.
Yes, despite the fact that Karl left us so close to the show date, the show must go on. That said, here are five reasons that left many teary-eyed by the end of the show.
The couture winter wonderland
Thanks to the fashion Kaiser, the world has seen the Grand Palais transformed into a space station, a tropical utopia and wispy forest, to reference a few of his past shows. This time, guests were taken into a couture winter wonderland replete with alpine chalets and snow-covered runways set against an apres ski mountain backdrop. It was almost like being inside a snow globe – the emotional equivalent of the anticipation at the uphill climb during a rollercoaster ride.
The tribute to Karl at the start of the show
The few seconds at the top before the rollercoaster takes its course would then be when all 72 models took their place in front of the grand “Chalet Gardenia” before the show. A minute of silence was observed, before Karl’s voice, replayed from a recent Chanel podcast, boomed over the speakers, reminiscing his debuts at the house. He spoke mostly in French, naturally, except for when he recalled how the Queen of England attributed the Maison to “walking in a painting”.
The swoon-worthy collection
(swipe left to see our favourite looks)
Now, for the breath-taking twists and turns.
Cara Delevingne, one of Karl’s muses and a loyal supporter of the designer, was first to walk down the runway in a checked tweed trouser suit and houndstooth coat. What followed was a collection that saw Karl redefining ski fashion with his latest tweed creations as well as faux fur coats, puffers, wide-leg trousers, snowflake-adorned bags and ample accessories. Once again, the German designer proved his knack for creating clothes for any kind of world his imagination can conjure, whether it be for outer space or your next ski holiday.
The runway appearance of Penelope Cruz
Arguably the climax of the ride was when Penelope Cruz made her debut on the runway. With a camelia in hand, the Spanish actress looked fitting of a snow queen in her all-white ruffled top and faux fur skirt cinched at the waist with a round-buckle belt.
The emotional finale
At the end of the show, the models reappeared on the runways – some with wide smiles on their faces, some holding back tears and most in applause of yet another memorable presentation – no doubt with Kaiser Karl in mind while doing so. It was hard not to be swept by a wave of emotions by it all.
Herewith, we look forward to the perpetuation of his legacy by Virginie Viard, who takes over Karl’s role as Chanel’s creative director.