In Memory of Karl Lagerfeld – From Supermarket Sweep to the Great Wall of China, These Are His Best Fashion Moments
As emotions settle down, we’re forced to face the reality. We’re living in a world without Karl Lagerfeld. And from the moment of hearing the sad news, we couldn’t stop revising all of our individual memories of spectacular moments that made our life just a little bit more fabulous. All those incredible sets, the beautiful models wearing great clothes… It’s impossible, to sum up Lagerfeld’s illustrious career that spans over five decades, but here we go. After our excursion into the deep history, we bring you our favourite ten fashion moments, courtesy of Kaiser Karl, may he rest in peace.
1. Karl debuts at Chanel Haute Couture AW83
When the workaholic Karl Lagerfeld joined Chanel, it was apparently only a part-time role. But it didn’t take long until he took every aspect from decades of heritage and made it his own. It’s still impossible to imagine the house’s legacy in an era post-Lagerfeld, and for now, we don’t want to. However, it all started in 1983 with a single couture collection, one that was ground-breakingly infused by ready-to-wear. So much so, it was totally slated by the critics of the time for being too “imperfect”. But oh, how chic…
2. Bend it Like Chanel with Lindy & Christy
The supermodel-era Chanel deserves books of its own – and we’re pretty sure many will be written very soon. From Linda Evangelista carrying her own surfboard down the catwalk and Naomi Campbell in a lilac bouclé suit and pigtails, to all of the Supers holding hands, photographed by Steven Meisel in American Vogue. Iconic would be an understatement. Yet possibly the most irreverent image that sticks out is the brand’s AW91 campaign. Covered in thousands of pounds worth of clothes, Linda and Christy are grinning while doing kick-ups with a football. Talk about the meeting of high and low.
3. Stella Tennant rocks an eenie-mini-bikini in the SS96 show
We can’t look back at Lagerfeld’s career without a controversy or two. The vision of super skinny, illuminatingly pale Stella Tennant in the tiniest bikini on earth with basically pasties tied with a piece of string went all around the world and then some. And many objected this new idea of sex appeal, especially in a time where models were all about oozing with femininity. Tennant’s androgynous figure, kohled eyes and chizzled cheeks framed by that heavy logo game will forever stay the image of that Chanel bikini.
4. The Great Wall Of China Show at Fendi SS07
Lest we forget Lagerfeld’s fashion story began at Fendi back in 1965 when he joined the company. And in those 50+ years, many a spectacle happened. One that pre-empted the destination show mania we’re living in right now was the Fendi SS07 show which took place nowhere else but on the actual Great Wall of China. Away from Parisian catwalks, 500 people took a very, very long journey to look at perfectly-tailored dresses and the most covetable accessories. Without a doubt, it was Karl Lagerfeld who put the emphasis on experience in fashion shows.
5. In Scottish Heights at the Linlithgow Castle for Metiers d’Art 2013.
And while we’re on the subject of destination shows, we can’t not talk about the Chanel Metiers d’Art 2013. Up in the Linlithgow Palace, where Mary Queen of Scots was born, Cara Delevingne, Stella Tennant and Edie Campbell were “dressed to kilt” as they showed of the best of knits and tartans. This was Lagerfeld’s homage to Scotland and one of fashion’s greatest tourist excursions.
6. When Couture Went Sporty in SS14
It might not be shocking anymore to see a pair of custom-made trainers with a price tag of thousands of dollars now, but back in 2014 – this was a first. Each of Lagerfeld’s 64 Haute Couture looks was accompanied with a matching pair of trainers made by Chanel’s bespoke shoemaker Massaro and marked a moment in fashion history when couture and sportswear overlapped. Nothing was the same after this show, as fashion took that route and pushed it even further. Name a luxury brand that doesn’t have an it trainer in their seasonal line-sheet? Exactly.
7. Supermarket sweep at AW14
The transformations of Grand Palais’ interior could easily be counted as one of the Seven Wonders of Humanity. How does one space turn from an iceberg into a space station and then into an airport? We’ll assume there’s a lot of £££ involved. Yet nothing will ever beat the all-Chanel-everything supermarket for AW14. Toilet paper, olive oil, bottles of fizzy soda and even the trolleys – a double C was covering every single thing in this space. But there was no shopping allowed – even Bad Gal Riri couldn’t take home a pack of Chanel biccies. Own brand selection never looked so good.
8. Cuba Express for Cruise 2017
Yet again, a destination. But this time it’s not just about the beautiful landscape or the monumental venue. Chanel’s expedition to Cuba was part of a global cultural change towards positive international relations with the Central American island state. On that same day, the first U.S. cruise ship docked in Havana in nearly 40 years. With colourful Cadillacs and salsa dancers, a parade of supermodels showed off the best of fantasy holiday daywear.
9. Anniversary Bonanza at Trevi Fountain for Fendi AW16 Haute Couture
Lagerfeld’s 50th anniversary at the house and Fendi’s 90th birthday – the AW16 Haute Couture show took place at the then-newly refurbished Fontana di Trevi, as fairy tale princesses (that included Bella Hadid, Kendall Jenner and Mica Arganaraz) walked on water (aka the plexiglass catwalk) in the most over-the-top creations, as modern-day versions of Audrey Hepburn in Roman Holiday.
10. The Final Look of the Final Couture Show – Vittoria Cerreti is a swimsuit Bride for SS19
And then there was the grand finale. While Lagerfeld was absent due to illness, his collection for Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2019 took the breath away of everyone present. Grand Palais turned into a Grande Palazzo, as the venue portrayed a vision of a rich Italian estate. As Vittoria Ceretti closed the show in an embroidered swimsuit with a matching cap and a stream of tulle trailing behind her, it seemed like Esther Williams was back at it in all her synchronised swimming glory. And that will forever will be remembered as the final look of Karl Lagerfeld’s final Haute Couture show. As beautiful as it is devastating. Rest in peace.