Just two days after Karl Lagerfeld's death, his final collection at the helm of Fendi was debuted at Milan Fashion Week. The iconic designer, who was with the Italian fashion house for 54 years, was reportedly working right up until he passed away on Tuesday, giving notes from his bed ahead of today's show.
Naturally, the evening was emotional for models walking - many of whom knew Lagerfeld personally, the staff working and attendees, who were each given sketches of what turned out to be Lagerfeld's final collection, alongside a tribute card with the date the designer passed away on the back. Also scrawled in the late designer’s signature handwriting was the phrase “Love Karl,” which was printed above the runway.
"The Fendi women's autumn/winter 2019 collection is the final collection designed by Karl Lagerfeld, representing a lifetime of dedication and creation from 1965 until today," the show notes read. "In his perpetual search for beauty and innovation, Karl's commitment to his craft never waned."
Lagerfeld's muse and new face of Chanel, Kaia Gerber, was joined by Australian model Adut Akech, who was given the honour of being a Chanel bride at the house's Haute Couture Autumn/Winter 2018 show, walking the finale alongside Lagerfeld.
Gigi Hadid, who has worked with Lagerfeld multiple times over the years, was given the honour of closing the show for the first time in her career, holding back tears as she walked to David Bowie's 'Heroes', before the backdrop switched to a video of Lagerfeld sketching his first collection for the house in 1965.
Earlier in the week, Hadid paid tribute to Lagerfeld on Instagram writing: "I will miss your indescribable presence, watching your calm, quiet, genius mind working, your little jokes, amazing stories, and experiencing the clothes, sets, and productions only you could dream up.
Thank you for believing in me and for the beautiful, incredible opportunities you brought to my career, but mostly, thank you for giving me the honour of knowing the magic behind the myth. There will never be another Karl Lagerfeld. I am overwhelmed with sadness today, but also with so much love, admiration, and gratitude for you." The Hadids also took huge bouquets of flowers to Fendi’s headquarters the night prior to the show.
Fendi’s creative partner, Silvia Venturini Fendi, who is rumoured to soon be named Lagerfeld's successor stood in for the final bow in tears, as backstage models, stylists and staff also broke down (per The New York Times).
Ahead of the show, Fendi shared a video of Lagerfeld talking about his first day on the job with the caption, "A heartfelt tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, Fendi's ready to wear and couture designer for over five decades," the caption read. "Karl, you will be dearly missed."
Lagerfeld's final collection for Chanel will be shown on Tuesday 5 March at Paris Fashion Week.