Karl Lagerfeld knew how to put on a show. In his 36 years as creative director at Chanel, the German-born designer not only helped to turn the French house from a legacy brand struggling to remain relevant in the early 1980s to a multibillion-dollar brand that has been one of the most profitable luxury companies in the world.
In addition to designing and creatively merchandising Chanel’s accessories and fragrance businesses (the company’s biggest income producers), Lagerfeld was a master marketer of the brand, befriending and signing on faces like Pharrell Williams, Linda Evangelista, Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner, Lily Rose Depp and Kaia Gerber.
Lagerfeld’s success in marketing Chanel could also be seen in the elaborate runway shows he put on, multimillion-dollar extravaganzas that continued to set the benchmark for the industry, especially in the past decade as the shows traveled all over the world and gained even bigger sets.
Here’s a look back at the Lagerfeld’s most memorable Chanel shows:
A Night at the Museum
For Chanel’s Metiers d’Art show in December, Lagerfeld brought the brand to New York, showing an Egyptian-themed collection at the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
The Chanel Beach
For the spring ’19 collection, Lagerfeld created an actual beach inside the Grand Palais in Paris, giving models waves and real sand that they could feel between their toes as they walked barefoot.
A Walk in the Park
With real trees, lamp posts and a bed of leaves completely covering the floor of the Grand Palais, Chanel’s fall ’18 collection felt a lot like autumn in New York’s Central Park.
La Vie Chanel
Lagerfeld loved to portray a high-fashion version of quotidien life in his shows, and he did just that for Chanel’s Haute Couture fall ’18 collection.
The Chanel Philharmonic
Lagerfeld went back to his home country of Germa to hold the Metiers d’Art show at Hamburg’s Philharmonic in December 2017.
Thousands of roses were brought into the Grand Palais for the brand’s spring ’18 haute couture collection.
An actual waterfall was constructed in the Grand Palais for Chanel’s spring ’18 runway show, which featured the season’s must-have thigh-high rainboots.
Paris in Paris
For Chanel’s fall ’18 haute couture show, Lagerfeld brought a mini-version of the Eiffel Tower into the Grand Palais.
Chanel in Flight
A Chanel rocket ship actually took (a mini) blast-off at the finale of Chanel’s fall ’17 show.
(Grocery) Shopping for Chanel
Chanel’s fall ’14 runway show was held in a supermarket with Chanel-branded products, right down to the baguettes.
See more of Karl Lagerfeld’s most memorable Chanel shows.
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