When news broke that the late Karl Lagerfeld had passed away aged 85 in February, the fashion industry came to a halt. The former creative director of the houses of Chanel, Fendi and his own eponymous label, German-born Lagerfeld left an imprint on the world that extends beyond his ateliers, his runway shows and the boutiques that house his designs, and is still felt today.
An example for fledgling and well-established designers alike, Lagerfeld’s irrevocable mark on the world was memorialised with a special event, Karl For Ever, held in the Grand Palais on June 20, 2019.
As guests filed in—including Anna Wintour, Gigi Hadid, Alber Elbaz, Giambattista Valli, Stella McCartney and Tommy Hilfiger—attendees were greeted with a series of 56 enlarged portraits of Lagerfeld and his beloved cat, Choupette, that adorned the walls of the storied building.
The venue where Lagerfeld staged his Chanel runway shows, the Grand Palais was an apt setting for the occasion, and was covered in three huge screens from which a biopic played. Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld and Valentino Garavani made appearances, with each paying their respects to the late designer, whose interviews were also spliced in the video.
Maria Grazia Chiuri of Dior, Nicolas Ghesquière of Louis Vuitton, Simone Port Jacquemus of Jacquemus, Clare Waight Keller of Givenchy and Marine Serre, participated in the video, recalling their memories of Lagerfeld and his formative role in shaping their careers.
Pharrell Williams, Lang Lang, Fanny Ardant, Cara Delevingne, Tilda Swinton and Dame Helen Mirren paid homage to the late Lagerfeld with performances at the affair. Delevingne performed a reading from French author Colette, Mirren recited an extract from Lagerfeld’s book, The World According To Karl (2013), and Swinton performed an extract from Virginia Woolf’s Orlando (1928), celebrating Lagerfeld through his most favourite authors.
Other performers including jookin dancer Lil Buck, Argentinian choreographer German Cornejo and his tango troupe and violinist Charlie Siem—who played Lagerfeld’s mother’s favourite composer Niccolò Paganini—also took to the stage.
Models and muses, including Stella Tennant, Carla Bruni Sarkozy, Caroline de Maigret and Claudia Schiffer arrived in archival Chanel, their wares testaments to the designer’s everlasting spirit that continues to live on despite his passing.
Notable industry guests included Silvia Venturini Fendi, Kenzō Takada, Jonathan Anderson, Haider Ackermann, Pierpaolo Piccioli and Alessandro Michele, reflecting Lagerfeld’s immeasurable influence on designers working today.
Vale Karl Lagerfeld.