No one coughed. It felt like no one even breathed.
Karl Lagerfeld’s last show for Chanel opened with a moment of silence, and the vast Grand Palais was as hushed as the mountain village depicted in the set, rows of wooden chalets, their chimneys smoking, set among pine trees and mounds of fake snow.
Lagerfeld loved snow — he would rush out to take photos whenever it dusted Paris — and his finale looks were white “snowball” sweater dresses with fluffy skirts, the first modeled by Penélope Cruz, who strolled out smiling and twirling a flower.
“I felt like laughing and crying at the same time, to see all these people that loved him so much celebrating him together. But seeing all this, also it’s the beginning of something else, all that he’s created over all these years,” Cruz said.
“The collection I saw today gave me goosebumps because everything is there: the past, present and future. I loved that they took the time at the beginning of the show, that they asked for that minute of silence. It made everybody stop and breathe, then there was the right kind of energy for the show,” she added.
Mariacarla Boscono could not hold back tears during the finale walk to David Bowie’s “Heroes,” and the thousands assembled rose in an ovation, clapping and lingering long after the models had exited to pay homage to Lagerfeld, who died on Feb. 19 after an unprecedented fashion career.
Chanel tucked a sketch into the press kits on each seat in Lagerfeld’s inimitable hand. It shows him standing with Gabrielle Chanel, and his handwritten caption read “The beat goes on…”
Claudia Schiffer, Janelle Monáe, Kristen Stewart, Stella Tennant, Ellie Bamber, Brandi Quinones and Naomi Campbell were among the bold-faced names to attend the show, along with international press and VIP clients.
Before the show, guests walked around the village, taking photos in mounds of snow, in front of Chanel logo skis, and the Chanel Gardenia chalet at the top of the runway, dressed in their best looks from seasons past, one with the Chanel grocery basket in hand, another with the latest beach ball bag.
“I couldn’t have missed his last show,” said Farah Makras, a Chanel devotee from San Francisco.
“I love Karl, the fairy tale he creates, there is nothing like a Chanel show,” said New York client Beth Frank. “I got on the plane sick to come here. There is no way I was missing this one.”
“I have goosebumps,” said Celine Yuan, who splits her time between Paris and Taiwan and has been to more than 10 Chanel shows. “It’s historic.”
“He’s a legendary person, and I’ve been wearing Chanel since I was 23 years old, 30 years now,” Evelina Pietruschka, a financier based in Beverly Hills, said of the late designer, wearing a navy couture dress with a round collar and a bow, a favorite Lagerfeld flourish. “I feel very proud to wear his clothes.”