wellpleased | The King of Catwalk Set Design – Karl Lagerfeld
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The King of Catwalk Set Design – Karl Lagerfeld

20 Feb 2019, Posted by Sarah Clark in event design, fashion show, Production, Uncategorized

Karl Lagerfeld, the iconic designer who helmed Chanel for more than 30 years, passed away in Paris at the age of 85. Lagerfeld will be remembered for many things—his keen eye, his leadership of Chanel and Fendi, his off-the-cuff comments—but among them will be Lagerfeld’s set designs, which were guaranteed to astound onlookers. Here, some of the most stunning sets from Lagerfeld’s career at Chanel…





Enchanted Forest

Taking the season quite literally, Karl Lagerfeld transformed the Grand Palais in Paris into a lifelike forest complete with soaring trees that lined the runway and a backdrop that seemed to extend the Chanel forest infinitely. From leaf-covered invitations to leaf-covered floors, no detail was spared



The Giant Lion

“Under the sign of the lion” announced the program, referring to Coco Chanel’s zodiac sign and Karl Lagerfeld’s concept of a statue to infuse the cupola of the Grand Palais with the spirit of the famed couture house.
The models walked out of the giant pearl under the lions paw.
The 12-meter, or almost 40-foot, behemoth had taken 30 sculptors three months to create from aluminum over a metal frame.



Eiffel Tower Replica

With the real Eiffel Tower visible through the glass panes of the Grand Palais, the set for this couture show was unsurprisingly large-scale – a giant replica of Paris’s most iconic landmark. Echoing the theme, folding chairs (like those you might enjoy a coffee and a cig on outside a chic little patisserie) formed the seats, with actual gravel making up the floor. We don’t wanna know who’s going to have to hoover that up.




The Chanel Carousel

For the 2008-2009 fall/winter show in Paris, models walked from and onto a giant Chanel-themed, fully-roatating carousel.



Rocket Launch

Lagerfeld spent roughly six months creating the otherworldly set to take us to the final frontier, all in means of showcasing Chanel’s new seasonal delivery. The show was even highlighted by a rocket that launched during the finale, appropriately soundtracked by Elton John’s “Rocket Man.”



The Grocery Store

At Paris Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2014, he had a full-blown grocery store built inside the Grand Palais, complete with fresh produce and shelves that stocked Chanel-branded bread, coffee, ketchup and champagne, among other things. The shopping baskets featured the label’s famous chains as seen on their luxury handbags, while models pushed shopping carts around the store.




The Exuberant Landscape

His latest show transported onlookers to the palm-tree lined garden and pool of a Tuscan-style villa, contrasting with the wintry surroundings in Paris as snow fell on the venue’s glass ceiling inside the Grand Palais exhibition hall.




The Waterfall

He designed Chanel’s Spring 2018 collection around the idea of plastic transparency, he took the idea of posh rainwear to the extreme, adding rain hats, macs, and duster covers to each bag. Oh, yes, and he brought a gigantic working waterfall to the Grand Palais to serve as the collection’s backdrop.



The Beach

A beach was recreated that included an ocean with gentle waves, blue sky, wooden docks and lifeguards. The sound of gulls signalled the show had started and the first model strolled through the waves, shoes in hand. The beach theme went on to include bikinis and swimsuits, sun hats, a bag shaped like a beach ball, macs for rainy days and a parasol print.




The Casino

Lagerfeld’s celebrity friends and muses — Kristen Stewart, Julianne Moore, Rita Ora, Lily Collins and Lily-Rose Depp, specifically — opened the show, walking into the casino to try their hands at the Chanel-branded gaming tables that stood in the center of the runway, while slot machines lined the rest of the venue’s walls.

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