Karl Lagerfeld, arguably the most celebrated designer in the world, left this life in February of this year. And this weekend, four months after his passing, fashion houses Chanel and Fendi – of which he was creative director - and his namesake label organised a memorial on in honour of the man who left an indelible mark on fashion. Held during Paris Men’s Fashion Week, over 2,500 guests attended to remember the life of this remarkable man, and BAZAAR was amongst the crowd to pay our respects.
The First Lady of France Brigitte Macron, designers Valentino Garavani and Tommy Hilfiger, as well as photographer Mario Testino and singer-songwriter Carla Bruni were all in attendance. We also spot Chanel’s CEO Alan Wertheimer and Harper’s Bazaar UK Editor- In- Chief Justine Picardie.
Produced and curated by theatre and opera director Robert Carsen, immersed guests in a 90- minute celebration at the Grand Palais in Paris, where Lagerfeld held many of his fashion shows. The exhibition, which was displayed in French, German and English, included 56 portraits taken throughout Karl’s life, taken by some of the most famous photographers, as well has video messages from some of his closes muses, friends, fans and colleagues, including Clare Waight Keller, Simon Porte Jacquemus, Claudia Schiffer, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Gigi Hadid.
“He always had a vision,” said Gigi Hadid in her video message at the memorial service. “He had no problem saying no. But, when he liked your idea it was a nice feeling and he embraced you for that.”
Pharrell Williams, who is the face of Chanel, took to the stage for an intimate performance.
As did Jookin dancer Lil Buck, violinist Charlie Siem, and Argentinian choreographer German Cornejo, who was accompanied by his troupe of 17 tango dancers and his seven-piece orchestra from Buenos Aires – all of whom are favourite of the late designer.
Actress Tilda Swinton, who played Orlando in Karl’s favourite Sally Potter’s film in 1992, read an excerpt from Virginia Woolf.
And, on a piano that Karl designed himself to mark the 150th anniversary of the Steinway, Chinese concert pianist, Lang Lang gave an exclusive recital.
Chinese concert pianist, Lang Lang
While Karl Lagerfeld made an indelible mark on fashion during the last six-decades, he was more than just a designer. He was an artist, photographer, book publisher and caricaturist. His legacy will follow him as those who gathered to remember him know all too well that Karl was a risk-taker, loyal and disciplined.