Photograph by: Francois Durand via Getty Images

Lager­feld: The Chanel Shows’ pays trib­ute to Karl Lagerfeld’s legacy

A new book by Rizzoli lays bare the incontestable influence the Kaiser had on the industry during his tenure at Chanel.

Rat­ing: 65

The world of fash­ion lost its most leg­endary design­er this year. Karl Lager­feld was the genius respon­si­ble for shap­ing the indus­try as we all know it today. Up until the end, he would lead the hous­es he was con­stant­ly trans­form­ing (Chanel, pre­dom­i­nant­ly, along with his epony­mous label and Fendi).

I am a kind of fash­ion nympho­ma­ni­ac who nev­er gets an orgasm,” he once quipped. Lager­feld devot­ed his life to fash­ion, and those who are tru­ly pas­sion­ate can cer­tain­ly relate. Since his pass­ing, the fash­ion indus­try has car­ried his myth over to new gen­er­a­tions of design tal­ent. The LVMH Spe­cial Prize now bears his name. The design­er who was known to loathe nos­tal­gia nev­er kept archives and nev­er par­tic­i­pat­ed in a show­case of his pro­lif­ic career. Luck­i­ly, it has been report­ed that the Met­ro­pol­i­tan Muse­um of Art is set to open a ret­ro­spec­tive ded­i­cat­ed to the Kaiser in 2022.

Now, author Simon Proc­ter has put togeth­er The Chanel Shows, a rev­er­ent tome fea­tur­ing all the Ger­man polymath’s Chanel run­way shows. 

Dur­ing his tenure at Chanel, Lager­feld man­aged to mate­ri­alise his desires in order to cre­ate unfor­get­table fash­ion moments. In 2010, he import­ed 265-ton, 30-foot ice­berg from Swe­den into the Grand Palais – the icy colos­sus remained intact for the dura­tion of the show thanks to a set tem­per­a­ture kept at sub-zero. Anoth­er mem­o­rable show would be the super­mar­ket spec­ta­cle – with real Chanel-brand­ed prod­ucts. It hap­pened when the fash­ion indus­try start­ed to embrace Insta­gram (Eva Chen joined the plat­form to over­see its fash­ion divi­sion a few months lat­er) and it will with­out doubt go down in his­to­ry as one of the most icon­ic fash­ion shows of the 21st century. 

Lager­feld under­stood that in order to stand out, his run­way shows had to go viral. Fol­low­ing shows fea­tured a repli­ca of the Eif­fel Tow­er, the Gorges du Ver­don land­scape, and a beach. There were also the Cruise and Métiers d’Art col­lec­tions, which were pre­sent­ed abroad. Lager­feld took Chanel to Seoul, Dubai, Sin­ga­pore, Edin­burgh, Cuba, and Dal­las – to name only a few. Each pre­sen­ta­tion was a coup de force and Lager­feld flexed his artis­tic mus­cles to pro­vide the world with some much-need­ed escapism.

A posthu­mous last show remind­ed those who admired his vision that he would go down on top. In the Grand Palais, a win­tery alpine vil­lage with chalets and a lay­er of pow­dery snow. Karl Lager­feld was the magi­cian of fash­ion, and this new book is a tes­ta­ment to his great cre­ative mind.

Lager­feld: The Chanel Shows is avail­able now.

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