fashion

Pharrell Williams, Gigi Hadid celebrate Karl Lagerfeld in moving tribute

Published 21st June 2019
PARIS, FRANCE - JUNE 20: (L-R) Lang Lang, Cara Delevingne, Lil Buck, Robert Carsen, Tilda Swinton, Pharell Williams and Helen Mirren pose on stage during the Karl Lagerfeld Homage at Grand Palais on June 20, 2019 in Paris, France. (Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images)
Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Pharrell Williams, Gigi Hadid celebrate Karl Lagerfeld in moving tribute
Written by Allyssia Alleyne, CNNOscar Holland, CNN
Claudia Schiffer, Anna Wintour and Gigi Hadid were among more than 1,000 guests to attend a star-studded memorial for the late Karl Lagerfeld in Paris on Thursday.
Organized jointly by Chanel, Fendi and the designer's eponymous label, the 90-minute "Karl For Ever" tribute was a fittingly grandiose spectacle to commemorate the life and achievements of the prolific designer, who died in February.
The Grand Palais pictured ahead of  Thursday's "Karl For Ever" tribute.
The Grand Palais pictured ahead of Thursday's "Karl For Ever" tribute. Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Held at Paris' Grand Palais, a venue that Lagerfeld regularly transformed into elaborate sets for his celebrated shows, the memorial attracted many of the world's best-known designers models and label bosses. The presence of stars from beyond the fashion world -- from France's first lady Brigitte Macron to racing driver Lewis Hamilton -- spoke to the breadth of a seven-decade career that spanned photography, art and design.
Guests sat on black-and-white chairs, arranged like a chessboard beneath monochrome portraits of Lagerfeld. Tilda Swinton, Helen Mirren and Cara Delevingne were among those to deliver readings, while musical performances came from Pharrell Williams and the Chinese pianist Lang Lang.
Tilda Swinton, one of a number of stars to perform, reads a passage from Virginia Woolf's novel "Orlando: A Biography."
Tilda Swinton, one of a number of stars to perform, reads a passage from Virginia Woolf's novel "Orlando: A Biography." Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
A moving on-screen homage saw dozens of renowned figures, including Dior creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri, filmmaker Baz Luhrmann and even Lagerfeld's famous feline, Choupette, paying tribute to the German designer and his legacy. Proceedings were narrated by Lagerfeld himself, with the help of edited clips from archive interviews.
"This whole thing is all woven and sewn together with Karl in mind, aiming to get the sense of proportion and detail he was so good at," Canadian opera director Robert Carsen, who conceived the production, told WWD earlier this month.
Remembering Karl Lagerfeld
Lagerfeld, who died at the age of 85, is remembered as one of the most influential, recognizable and outspoken figures in contemporary fashion history. Along with his most famous post as creative director of Chanel -- a job he assumed in 1983 -- he also served as the creative mastermind at Fendi and his own label, Karl Lagerfeld.
"His creative genius was breathtaking and to be his friend was an exceptional gift," said Vogue's editor-in-chief Anna Wintour in a statement at the time of his death. "Karl was brilliant, he was wicked, he was funny, he was generous beyond measure, and he was deeply kind."
Guests were treated to a live perfromance by Pharrell Williams.
Guests were treated to a live perfromance by Pharrell Williams. Credit: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
In March, Chanel paid tribute to the designer with a moment of silence at the start of its Autumn-Winter 2019 show, before models took to the runway in an all-white collection of the brand's signatures.
In July, Fendi will stage its own show in tribute to Lagerfeld in Rome.