Four months ago, the world lost a legend, one of the world’s most prominent characters in fashion industry, Karl Lagerfeld. On June 20, 2019, three fashion houses, Chanel, Fendi, and Karl Lagerfeld, all of whom Lagerfeld is associated with, hosted a tribute ceremony called “Karl For Ever” to honour this legendary artist and his work throughout the years alongside 2500 guests in attendance.
Designed, directed, and staged by Canadian opera director, Robert Carsen was given the responsibility of capturing the extraordinary character and soul that is Lagerfeld in the Grand Palais. Home to many of Lagerfeld’s imaginative and teleporting Chanel shows, the Grand Palais saw a beautiful exhibition lined with a total of 56 enlarged portraits of Lagerfeld in his famously favourite colours of black and white with a touch of red taken throughout the phases of his life and career path beginning from Chloe in the 70’s to Chanel, Fendi, and his own brand Karl Lagerfeld.
The ceremony kicked off with a series of testimonies of Lagerfeld from renowned figures including creative director of Dior, Maria Grazia Chiuri, and Supermodel, Gigi Hadid to those who worked with him and knew him on a personal level such as editor in chief of Vogue and long-time friend, Anna Wintour.
“Karl For Ever” included live performances from highly talented actors, musicians, and an argentine troupe of tango dancers who interpreted some of Lagerfeld’s favorites but less well-known interests in music, arts, and literature. Actresses such as Tilda Swinton, Fanny Ardant, and Cara Delevigne recited poems and literary readings of some of the works of Lagerfeld’s favorite authors such as “Orlando” by Virginia Woolf and “Colette”, a poem about cats, while pictures of Lagerfeld’s signature companion, a Birman cat named Choupette, were showcased on screen.
The night ended with a series of performance by those who Lagerfeld is known to have enjoyed including Jookin dancer Lil Buck, the brilliant violinist Charlie Siem, who played Paganini, Lagerfeld’s mothers’ favorite composer, pianist Lang Lang who once played Chopin on the grand piano designed by Lagerfeld, and was concluded with a performance by American artist, Pharrell Williams, who have also previously launched a collection under Chanel.
Although the Grand Palais was decked with towering images of Lagerfeld himself and was full of extraordinary performances throughout the night, the Grand Palais was simply not big enough to capture the intelligence and passion Lagerfeld had towards his career and life.