pfw fall 2019

Chanel Says ‘Goodbye’ to Karl Lagerfeld

Models get emotional during the Chanel finale. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

On Tuesday morning in Paris, Chanel showed the final collection Karl Lagerfeld designed before his death at the end of February.

There have been touching tributes to the late fashion designer throughout the season — not to mention an emotional show at Fendi in Milan, where Lagerfeld worked since 1965. But it was all leading up to this moment, when his Chanel family, including Anna Wintour, Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Marion Cotillard, and many more, finally got to bid him adieu.

Chanel Fall 2019 was set in a Swiss ski village. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Lagerfeld did not want a funeral, as he was quoted saying numerous times throughout his life. Along with his right hand, Virginie Viard, he planned his own finale — right down to the weather, with a runway made of fake snow.

A Chanel model dressed to look like Karl Lagerfeld. Photo: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Lagerfeld was known for his elaborate runway sets, and this time, the Palais Royal was transformed into a snowy ski village in Switzerland, complete with Chanel skis and smoking chalet chimneys. The show began with a moment of silence, followed by a projection of Lagerfeld speaking in French over the loudspeakers. “Like walking in a painting,” he said.

Model Cara Delevingne, one of the designer’s favorites, opened the show in a black-and-white tweed ensemble. All of Lagerfeld’s signatures were present: bulbous “snow-ball” dresses, fanny packs with double-C logos, jumpsuits, ruffled collars, and hands in pockets. Models all wore black ribbons in their hair, as Lagerfeld did, with some dressed as spitting images of the designer. In all, the collection was feminine, tough, and cheeky-chic in a way that only Karl Lagerfeld could pull off.

Actress Penélope Cruz, who is a Chanel brand ambassador, closed the show wearing a white snow-ball dress and carrying a white rose in her hand. For the finale, David Bowie’s “Heroes” played as the entire cast exited in a group, just as they did at Fendi. The audience gave a standing ovation, with some wiping tears from underneath their dark sunglasses.

“The beat goes on … ” read the show’s program.

Penélope Cruz closed the show carrying a white rose. Photo: Victor Boyko/Getty Images
Inside Karl Lagerfeld’s Last Chanel Show