on february 19, 2019, karl lagerfeld passed away at the age of 85. a prolific creative mind with endless imagination, the legendary fashion designer created a universe all his own, in which every detail was of absolute importance.

see karl lagerfeld's most creative concepts come to life at chanel fashion shows

image courtesy of chanel



whilst the german fashion designer had his own eponymous line and was the creative director of italian luxury label fendi for over five decades, his name is most associated with french fashion house chanel. at its helm for over thirty years, his imagination came to life in iconic shows featuring fantastical themes that included a huge spacecraft, a replica of the eiffel tower and a chanel-branded supermarket. in memory of lagerfeld, we take a look back at his most fantastical show set design…



spring-summer 2019 haute couture


for lagerfelds final couture show, he recreated the villa chanel country house, transporting show-goers to a sun soaked summer’s day in italy. again at the grand palais in paris, models walked down park-inspired runways, surrounded by lavish ponds and palm trees.




spring-summer 2019 ready-to-wear


lagerfeld brought a beach to paris fashion week last year to present a seaside0inspired spring-summer 2019 collection. complete with sand, an on-duty lifeguard and ebbing tide, models splashed their way down the runway, holding shoes in hand.




fall-winter 2017/18 haute couture


paris’ most iconic landmark served as inspiration for lagerfeld who created a scale replica of the eiffel tower to look over models wearing his fall/winter haute couture collection in 2017. the structure’s flared silhouette occupied the center of the grand palais, echoing the collection of shapely dresses and coats.




spring-summer 2017 ready-to-wear


for a futuristic take on fashion, karl lagerfeld drew inspiration from the inner-workings of a computer. a data centre full of loose wires provided the backdrop for models dressed as white robots carrying LED-lit bags.




fall-winter 2018/19 ready-to-wear


lagerfeld recreated an autumnal forest inside the grand palais to show off his fall/winter collection in 2018. to the anger of environmentalists, several oaks and poplars were cut down to create the set. models circled nine tall trees on a runway strewn with dead leaves, moss and logs.




fall-winter 2010/11


for chanel’s fall/winter 2010 show karl lagerfeld imported a massive 265-ton glacier from northern sweden. over six days 35 sculptors carved the 240-tonne block into a 28-foot polar landscape. in order to keep the set from melting the grand palais, where the show was hosted, was also kept at subzero temperature.




fall-winter 2017/18


lagerfeld literally launched a spacecraft in the middle of the grand palais during its fall 2017 show in paris. to a backdrop of elton john’s ‘rocket man’, special effects made it look like the chanel rocket had launched, aimed at the center of the building’s famous ironwork and glass ceiling.




fall-winter 2014/15


chanel presented supermarket chic for its fall 2014 show. in an epic celebration of consumerism, karl lagerfeld recreated a fully-stocked grocery store with over 100,000 chanel-branded products. during the presentation, models walked down ‘aisles’ with chanel shopping carts. after the show, attendees stormed the faux market to loot the store in a bid to take a slice of chanel home with them.




métiers d’art show 2018/19


set upon the back drop of an egyptian temple, chanel’s 2018/19 métiers d’art show saw a mash-up of ancient civilization and the city of new york. karl lagerfeld had models walk around the 10 B.C temple of dendur at the metropolitan museum of art, donning prints and motifs drawn from the memphis group, the 1980s collective headed by the protean ettore sottsass.




spring – summer 2012 ready-to-wear show


in 2012, the grand palais was transformed by huge white coral, shells, sea horses, seaweed and stingrays. even florence welch, the singer performing during the show, rose from a half shell like boticelli’s venus.




spring – summer 2018 ready-to-wear


lagerfeld brought a gigantic working waterfall to the grand palais to serve as the backdrop for his spring 2018 collection. the 30-foot water feature was complete with caves where models emerged wearing rain hats and macs.