In honour of Karl, her’s a look back to the most awe-inspiring, showstopping sets which Lagerfeld staged for Chanel during his tenure as creative director of the Parisian maison. With immersive and cinematic sets resembling windfarms, beaches, polar landscapes , eiffel tower, shell life, airport departure lounges, space stations, supermarkets and much more… in celebration of Lagerfeld’s boundless creativity, here are the 10 most iconic awe-inspiring showset design in a random order.
Chanel A/W 2010: Lagerfeld erected a chilly polar landscape, complete with a 265-tonne iceberg imported from Scandinavia. Housed in a sealed ‘glacier’ box in subzero temperatures, the berg was constructed by 35 ice sculptors who, over the course of six days, transformed 240 tonnes of snow-ice into the icescape – which reached a peak of 8.5 metres.
Chanel A/W 2017: Karl Lagerfeld prepared for blast-off with a space station-inspired runway set. The ‘Gabrielle Chanel Agency Spatiale’ boasted an igloo-like tent, flashing transmission towers and a giant Chanel logo rocket. At the show’s finish the rocket burst into life, emitting sparks and smoke, and appeared to take off through the glass ceiling of the Grand Palais to the blaring soundtrack of Elton John’s Rocket Man.
Chanel 2019 Cruise show: Karl Lagerfeld had an ocean liner docked inside the Grand Palais, compete with live entertainment, an oyster bar and a fake hot tub. A 330-foot-long steel-welded ocean liner stood beneath the vast glass dome of the Grand Palais, steam puffing from two scarlet funnels as scores of portholes twinkled with bright lights and inky black waves seemed to lap at the hull, all reminiscent of a chic Mediterranean port at midnight.
Chanel S/S 2018: Lagerfeld devised an immense set up that recreated the Verdon Gorge, a spectacular river canyon in southeast France. Models strode a narrow wooden walkway, surrounded by cascading waterfalls, verdant cliffs and grassy foliage, all of which were reused after the show.
Chanel A/W 2018: Lagerfeld took show goers into a forest. Real, mature trees covered in moss and CHANEL-branded autumnal leaves completely covered the floor. Such a natural setting evoked more emotion than usual. This was a landscape that offering a multi-sensory experience – the earthy scent of tree bark filled the air – and it was also a reflection of the times, in which permanently stressed urban dwellers are turning en masse to the liberating antidote of the great outdoors.
Chanel Resort 2018: Lagerfeld erected his idealised vision of ancient Greece – complete with Parthenon-worthy crumbling columns and a sunset view of the Aegean – at the Grand Palais’ Galerie Courbe in Paris. A first-century headless statue of Venus still sits at Coco Chanel’s Rue Cambon apartment, and an iteration of it appeared on set, wrapped in cloth and a construction site of wooden scaffolding.
Chanel S/S 2016: Lagerfeld conceived another blockbuster set, theatrically transforming the lofty interiors of the Grand Palais into an airport terminal complete with 40 different Chanel-branded check-in desks, luggage trolleys and a huge departure board listing the house’s recent show locations.
Chanel A/W 2014: The Chanel shopping centre inside Paris’ Grand Palais was the talk of the town during Paris fashion week. Models clutching Chanel logo baskets paraded down aisles fully stocked with a rainbow of jars, bottles and groceries – yet this was no ordinary supermarket run!
Chanel s/s 2019: The spring summer womenswear show at Paris Fashion Week, Lagerfeld commissioned a beach-themed set. The iconic Parisian venue was transformed to the point of being unrecognizable into a beach scene, replete with sand, ebbing waves and even lifeguards. Models, carrying their shoes in their hands, splashed their way through the real life waves that lapped the sandy runway.
Chanel couture, s/s 2015:Guests walked into a giant terrarium containing what seemed to be giant white origami tropical flowers, palm trees and banana leaves.