In the most emotional and highly anticipated event of fashion month, the Chanel show took place in Paris this morning at its traditional time and venue, but without its iconic ponytailed designer, Karl Lagerfeld.
The fashion legend, who oversaw the Parisian couture and ready-to-wear house for 36 years, died on Feb. 19 of cancer. This was the Chanel mastermind’s last collection, and his ode to alpine chic was as creative — and chill — as ever.
Famous for building elaborate sets (rocket ships, waterfalls, even a beach complete with roaring waves) this time, Lagerfeld jetted us to a magical ski resort in the Grand Palais, complete with chalets, Chanel-branded skis and a massive, snow covered runway. Even the chalet chimneys had puffs of smoke coming out of them.
Chanel muse Kristen Stewart sat front row clad in a black look stamped with the brand’s signature double “Cs.”
As usual, showgoers each received a sketch by Lagerfeld. This time, it showed a self-portrait of the designer and Coco Chanel with the words “The Beat Goes On…” scrawled eloquently across the top.
After a minute of silence in honor of him, one of Lagerfeld’s favorite muses Cara Delevingne sloped down the runway in a black-and-white houndstooth coat, as twinkling windchimes sounded.
What followed was a slew of Chanel classics tweaked for the apres-ski set: floor-sweeping tweed overcoats, slouchy pleated pants and embellished fair isle sweaters styled with chunky ski boots. In a mostly black and white collection — a classic Chanel color pairing — colors popped. A pink puffer and a mock-neck bright blue sweater with crystal appliques that echoed snowflakes were standouts.
There were plenty of must have-accessories for the sartorial ski bunny: velvet hairbows trimmed with the brand’s signature camelia flower, mirrored shades resembling goggles, and ski-lift shaped purses.
The finale was a heavenly parade of powdery white looks worn by several models, including muse Kaia Gerber and – in a surprise casting – Penelope Cruz, who carried a single white rose.
As the models floated down the piste to the tune of David Bowie’s “Heros,” the audience leapt up for a prolonged standing ovation. The models were like snowflakes, each of them: beautiful, and none quite like the other.
A poignant and fitting homage to a one-of-a-kind designer.