The flaming torch wrapped in its legendary black bow and youthful attire is the crown of the House today, to celebrate ‘Chanel’s greatest designer.’ I am sure Coco would agree. After all her vision launched a one of a kind industry, and inspired a lifetime, a Lagerfeld lifetime. Coco liberated the woman of the old corset. At the very least, Karl continued to do so in the 21st century. In one hundred and ten years the House of Chanel was built. It seems surreal that fashion’s design existed before it and the other greats of the Belle Époque. To have lasted this long, it must have been beautifully dreamed. First by Chanel, then Lagerfeld. Yet we still said good-bye to a century and one decade design too soon, one which as a modern generation we discovered only through the eyes of Karl.
The muse of Karl with the wild eyebrows and bionic eyes, Cara Delevingne, opened his last fashion show. She also closed a chapter in this wonderful story that captured our hearts for decades. She was his Mona Lisa. Will always be. On the runway his voice echoed followed by a wave of music. With snow at our feet as each model appeared and embodied his fabrics we watched Karl’s life flash by. The Lagerfeld story: from pink and happy to the dark and brave, memories brought to life through the absolute stillness of our spirit and focus of our eyes. In those quiet moments we learned more about him then any book could write or critic could have asked. His legendary dark sunglass for better or worse transformed into a Chanel reflection. To understand him, all we had to do is snap our shutters and open our hearts. The dropping rows of pearls along the models’ necks today were held back tears. It was uncomfortable in the most beautiful way; the last hug or kiss that we would give a loved one.
The young brave Kaia Gerber graced the runway in the shadow of her mentor. We will remember Kara from now on, in addition to the Crawford legacy, for her beginnings with Karl. Beginnings to last a lifetime and bloom into the future he imagined “for her.'“ Penelope Cruz, the flaming Spaniard holding a white rose, was all the courage we needed to bid Him farewell. Her bright smile and careless je ne sais quoi in those still moments turned Penelope into an angel sent from up above.
There is almost half a century between Coco and Karl. Why he was chosen to design Chanel might take us another lifetime or half a century to understand. For now, in this Fall/Winter 2019-2020 collection we recall Karl’s creative genius. We imagine the last Karl sketch as his legacy takes a last bow among snowflakes on the white runway; with each footstep of each model wearing one last time the design that carries the heart of the seamstress, tailor, beading artist, and highly but gently especially that of The Great Karl Lagerfeld.