A truly legendary designer in life, and now in death, Karl Lagerfeld was no stranger to putting on a spectacular show. Whether it was a set that defied all expectations (even when the bar was set very, very high) or a collection that blew us away, Lagerfeld’s tenures at Chanel and Fendi were memorable for so many reasons. Below, marie claire editors weigh in on the moments they won’t forget — from that iconic supermarket set to the dresses that are still making an impact.
Nicky Briger, Editor
I’ve been incredibly lucky to have attended a few Chanel shows over the years, and without doubt those brief Karl Lagerfeld extravaganzas were the most thrilling, memorable moments in my career. From spaceships and supermarkets to spooky forests and race courses, Karl’s OTT settings set the bar so high it was nigh-impossible for anyone to come close to matching his unique vision and love of grandeur. But my favourite by far was last year’s spring/summer collection. Held as always at the Grand Palais, Karl transformed this majestic Parisian space into a relaxed tropical beach complete with silky white sand and fake waves. Theatrics aside, the collection was fun, flirty, fresh and relatable filled with silk sorbet dresses, tweed jackets and cashmere sweaters — I wanted it all! As Karl made a brief appearance to thunderous applause, little did we know it’d be his last appearance at a Chanel show. Genius to the end.
Alex Noonan, Digital Content Director
I was lucky enough to attend the autumn/winter 14/15 collection to report on the beauty look. After 15 years in the business this is by far and away one of the most incredible trips (both personally and professionally). Not only did I get to attend the show (with its incredible giant globe rotating on its axis as the focal point) and visit Coco Chanel’s apartment on Rue Cambon but I was granted unique access backstage. There I interviewed then makeup director Peter Philips in the wee hours of the morning (it was still dark when I left!) and was quickly whisked away (in the gentlest of ways, of course) when it was time for Mr Lagerfeld to join his team before the show. To this day I still can’t get over how calm, quiet and perfectly organized it was backstage – it was a testament to his years of experience and trusted team.
Chloe Buttenshaw, Senior Fashion Editor
I remember opening this box from Chanel in Paris for one of my shoots. I could not believe the dress had arrived and that the detail and craftsmanship was incredible. To shoot this dress was a dream come true, from the one and only Karl Lagerfeld.
Francesca Wallace, Senior Digital Fashion Editor
Chanel and Karl go hand in hand, but all the insane and incredible sets aside, I think Fendi’s iconic 90th birthday show at the Trevi Fountain in Rome was one of the most spectacular. Not only did Karl and Fendi fund the restoration of the iconic monument, but the show was a tribute to all things Italy. A collection and a setting that will always stay in my memory as a favourite.
Monica Russell, Market Editor
The Chanel supermarket, so iconic! An absolute genius idea and executed perfectly! The supermarket shelves were stocked full of Chanel branded merchandise from confectionary to chainsaws and I still can’t get over the Chanel shopping baskets the models carried as bags.
Jana Pokorny, Fashion Director
I loved the autumn/winter 10/11 fashion show where Karl had 240 tons of Swedish ice imported to create just one of his many fantastical sets within the Grand Palais in Paris – this one blew my mind and loved the little ice block minaudieres created for the show’s theme.