A moment of silence at Chanel’s first show without Karl Lagerfeld

Contributors Monica Ainley, CNN

French fashion house Chanel paid tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, its late creative director, at Paris Fashion Week on Tuesday morning.

The Autumn-Winter 2019 show, which was attended by the likes of Anna Wintour, Kristen Stewart, Claudia Schiffer and Monica Bellucci, started with a minute of silence. Then, Lagerfeld’s voice echoed through the venue, musing about how he renewed Chanel’s desirability, and sharing early memories of his time at the brand.

Model Claudia Schiffer, left, and actress Monica Bellucci at Chanel's Autumn-Winter 2019 show.

Model Claudia Schiffer, left, and actress Monica Bellucci at Chanel’s Autumn-Winter 2019 show. Credit: Thibault Camus/AP

An illustrated card left on each seat at the show featured a drawing of Lagerfeld with Chanel founder Coco Chanel, with the words “The beat goes on…” written above their heads.

Lagerfeld, who died on Feb. 19 at the age of 85, had served as artistic director of Chanel since 1983, when CEO Alain Wertheimer gave him “carte blanche” to reinvent the brand.

“Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of Chanel’s success throughout the world,” Wertheimer said a statement following his death.

A grand finale

The show’s set design transported guests from the Grand Palais in Paris to an alpine village, complete with snow-topped houses set against a backdrop of mountain peaks, in what may have been a nod to Lagerfeld’s German roots.

The collection was designed in collaboration with Lagerfeld’s successor, Virginie Viard, the director of Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio and Lagerfeld’s right-hand woman for more than 30 years.

Models, including Lagerfeld favorites Cara Delevingne and Kaia Gerber, showed a parade of the brand’s signatures, with plenty of blown-up tweeds, houndstooth prints in a variety of colors and pearl accessories.

Actress Penelope Cruz walks the Chanel Autumn-Winter 2019 runway.

Actress Penelope Cruz walks the Chanel Autumn-Winter 2019 runway. Credit: Francois Mori/AP

The prevailing silhouette was oversized, with billowing trousers, long coats, puffer jackets, and dramatic lapels, accessorized with furry winter boots. Amidst the mostly dark color palette were a stream of delicate all-white looks, including a feather mini skirt modeled by Penelope Cruz.

The show culminated with a tearful, extended standing ovation, as models walked down the runway to David Bowie’s “Heroes.” No one emerged from backstage to give a final bow.

Remembering a lost leader

Lagerfeld’s other luxury labels have also paid tribute to the designer in recent weeks. At Milan Fashion Week, Fendi, the Italian brand where Lagerfeld served as artistic director for 54 years, closed its Autumn-Winter 2019 show with a segment of the documentary 2013 “Karl Lagerfeld Sketches His Life,” in which he sketched and described what he wore on his first day at the brand.

Chloé, the French house he helmed from first between 1963 to 1983, and again from 1992 to 1997, provided guests with postcards featuring images and quotes from Lagerfeld’s tenure.

“His joyous capturing of the spirit of the Chloé woman is eternally treasured by us, and by everyone who felt the freedom and beauty of wearing his clothes,” the show notes read.

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