For Karl Lagerfeld, the beat goes on…The final Collection for Chanel
The atmosphere felt charged with anticipation of sadness in the air. It was an emotional moment for many in the audience as they gathered to witness the presentation of Karl Lagerfeld’s Final Chanel Fall 2019 Collection show.
Front-row guests like Caroline de Maigret, Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer were in tears.
The show was the last time many had the chance to mourn his loss and to celebrate his life and his work.
Lagerfeld did not wish to have a public memorial, so the tributes to Chanel’s former leader were subtle.
Tucked inside the show notes was an illustration by Lagerfeld of himself and the late Coco Chanel, the two people most associated with the brand.
“The beat goes on…” was scrawled across the top in Lagerfeld’s writing, leaving one to wonder if he left this in preparation for the time of his passing.
Before the show started, an announcement was made in both French and English asking for a minute of silence; after which the intercom system played audio from an interview with Lagerfeld, speaking of design and remembering that someone once told him, in English, that his sets were “like walking in a painting.”
Then Cara Delevingne opened the show, followed by surprise on the runway, Penelope Cruz, the most recent face of Chanel, who took a turn in an all-white look holding a single white rose in the designer’s memory.
The collection opened with black, white and tan tweeds in menswear plaids and houndstooth prints on high-waisted, wide-legged pants; long, loose coats; wide-brimmed hats and chain-strapped bags alike.
Frilled chiffon and silk blouses added a layer of lightness to the heavy fabrics.
Beautiful, plush knits in Fair Isle patterns and stripes for sweaters, midi-length skirts and cardigans, sometimes all at once.
At the end came heavy capes, patent-leather pants and jumpsuits and a black sequined top, leading into a section of pure white garments.
There were puffer jackets and vests, suiting and more high-waisted pants for day, while the evening wear included feathery and furry skirts and metallic snowflake embellishments.
When the final model walked past, Anna Wintour stood to incite a standing ovation, which lasted several minutes. No one came out to take a final bow on behalf of the team, marking Lagerfeld’s absence even more profoundly.
It is hard to imagine Chanel without Lagerfeld, and for those who attended, it was worth taking the time to memorialise such a talented designer.
Lagerfeld detested living in the past and never looked back, even on his work. So, we all move forward into Chanel’s brave new world with Viard. After all, “the beat goes on….”