The theater of Karl, an homage

The recent passing of Karl Lagerfeld has left us with a gaping hole in the fashion landscape. Lagerfeld was internationally known as the Creative Director for Chanel – he took the reigns in 1983, the year after starting his own name brand, Karl Lagerfeld, although he had already had a formidable career with his work for Fendi and Chloé, since the 60s. Alongside Chanel, he was the creative director for Fendi until his passing.


With decades and decades of work behind him, it is clear that he helped to shape and mold the fashion industry into what we know today.


One of the things that made the Chanel shows so magical, was the other-worldly set design conceived by Lagerfeld. Below, we have put together a selection of some of our favorites, to commemorate his inimitable legacy.

Haute Couture 2006 Spring

A towering spiral staircase that led to the models from nowhere to the runway.

Spring/Summer 2012 Ready to Wear

Like Sebastian in Disney’s Little Mermaid, Lagerfeld too seemed to muse –  ‘Life under the sea is better than anything they’ve got up there’ – in an underwater paradise, featuring Florence Welch, from Florence and the Machine, as Botticelli’s Venus.

Fall/Winter 2012-2013 Ready to Wear

Chanel’s crystalline wonderland, like Superman’s Fortress Of Solitude, provided the perfect backdrop, shaped by nature herself.

Fall/Winter 2014-2015 Ready to Wear

One of the most Instagrammed shows of all time – the infamous Chanel supermarché. It ended with a supermarket sweep as editors tried to take the Chanel branded products from the shelves.

Spring/Summer 2015 Ready to Wear

A Parisian boulevard, with a controversial finalé which saw the models state a faux-protest alongside Lagerfeld in support of women’s rights and feminism.

Fall/Winter 2015-2016 Ready to Wear

The Brasserie Gabrielle, an homage to Parisian café culture, had the models taking their seats and drinking coffee from Chanel cups during the show.

Haute Couture 2015 Fall

The casino set the scene, with celebrities including Julianne Moore, Kristen Stewart, Lily-Rose Depp, and Lara Stone wearing one-off Chanel outfits designed by Karl exclusively for them.

Haute Couture 2016 Spring

An ecological approach, with a focus on natural materials, for this peaceful Zen garden setting.

Spring/Summer 2016 Ready to Wear

Chanel Airlines! Some people fly first class, and some people fly Chanel. Luxury reached new heights!

Spring/Summer 2017 Ready to Wear

The Chanel Data Centre, with color-coded wires, server stacks, and robots in tweed – we saw the timeless classics transcend into the future.

Haute Couture Fall 2017

The icon of Paris herself, the Eiffel Tower, watched over the show, towering over the audience, and disappearing into man-made clouds.

Fall/Winter 2017-2018 Ready to Wear

Lagerfeld became fashion’s ultimate Rocketman, with his life-size Chanel rocket ship. For the finalé, the rocket appeared to actually take off – threatening to burst through the Grand Palais’ glass ceiling!

Spring/Summer 2018 Ready to Wear

A replica of Les Gorges du Verdon river canyon from the south of France, replete with waterfall, a light breeze and a rainbow provided by the Grand Palais itself: stunning.

Cruise 2019

The concept of the ‘cruise’ collection was completely redefined, by an actual cruise boat. At the end of the show, Lagerfeld beckoned everyone on board and shared oysters with them in a Chanel branded ballroom.

Spring/Summer 2019 Ready to Wear

Lagerfeld took us to the shore of Chanel’s very own private beach, with actual waves lapping the models’ bare feet. He took his exit on the jetty with the new creative director, Virginie Viard, his then director of Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio.

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