It’s Karl Lagerfeld’s World: The 10 Craziest Chanel Runway Shows Ever
Karl Lagerfeld—otherwise deemed as the unofficial King of Chanel—never ceases to amaze us with his over-the-top runway sets every fashion week. In honor of witnessing absolute greatness at the Spring 2018 show in Paris—as we watched Kaia Gerber walk among waterfalls donning transparent accessories—we’ve ranked our favorite Karl Lagerfeld masterpieces, a.k.a. Chanel runway sets that are out of this world. (No really, there are spaceships involved.)
10. The End Of The World, As We Know It
Housed in the beautiful Grand Palais in Paris, otherwise known as the Coliseum de Chanel (okay, we named it that), the Fall 2013 Couture show gave us a small glimpse at a very chilling future. Karl Lagerfeld took us on an apocalyptic adventure, mesmerizing us with the ruins of a world that held little promise. That is, until the models made their appearance… Hinting at futuristic undertones with traditional values sprinkled throughout, the beauty of the fashion nearly rivaled the splendor of the auditorium. Portrait necklines, Victorian-esque silhouettes, and shoulder drapings were accompanied by delicate fabrics, translucent details, and shimmering finishes. The show closed with a dramatic theatrical experience, with stage curtains pulling back to reveal a beautiful cityscape among the ruins—obviously insinuating the only possible explanation: that Chanel can restore humanity. Or as least, that’s how we interpreted it.
9. Ice, Ice, Coco
Karl Lagerfeld doesn’t mess around. When he wants an iceberg as the focal point of his runway, he’s transports one from Scandinavia. Creating an icy-cool atmosphere, the Fall 2010 Ready-To-Wear show did not disappoint. Though the air sent a chill to everyone in attendance, the hearts of New York socialites and fashion editors alike were warmed by the wide array of fabulously faux fur jackets, pants, and boots. Splashing their way through the icy puddles, the models looked glamourous in tweed-lined coats, fur covered clutches, and sweater dresses that inspired the style that took over our 2010 closets.
8. Beauty In Brasserie
The Grand Palais was transformed for the Fall 2015 Ready-To-Wear show into none other than a brasserie. For those of us who aren’t as educated in French culture (sorry, Karl), a brasserie is a relaxed French restaurant that reminds us more of the pub down the street than a backdrop for fashion’s biggest stage. Nonetheless, the King of Chanel never does anything on accident, and therefore we were yet again wowed by the attention to detail that Karl Lagerfeld puts in his runway spectaculars. The entire Fall 2015 collection was styled atop one single, glorious shoe: a nude slingback block heel with a black capped-toe. The show was composed of 97 different looks, incorporating skirt suits, bomber jackets, mid-length skirts, and the Chanel signature touch: tweed everywhere you look.
7. Clean Up In Aisle Catwalk
Introducing the first and only Chanel Shopping Center, offering Chanel branded meats, carbs, home goods, hardware, and more. In a seriously epic portrayal of satirical humor toward fashion in pop culture, we saw firsthand how beautiful a statement can be when said through art. Implying that fashion and grocery shopping go together like consumerism on overdrive, the Fall 2014 Ready-To-Wear show was nothing short of spectacular. The show brought depth to the diversity of fashion, offering a wide range of styles from loose-fitting sweatpants to tweed two pieces and metallic pants—all styled with colorful sneakers, because who grocery shops in stilettos?
6. Chanel Royale
All bets are off, because Chanel blew our minds at the Fall 2015 Couture show. Recreating a casino, stocked full with Chanel-branded roulette tables and bow-tie clad dealers to match, tons of celebrities spilled out of the woodwork, taking their places at the dealing tables, such as Kristen Stewart, Rita Ora, and Julianne Moore, to name a few. The models all sported severe black bobs, while showcasing some of the most beautiful Chanel designs full of glittering details, iridescent textures, leather embellishments, and did we say tweed? Kendall Jenner closed the show in a jaw-dropping bridal ensemble that had us reimagining everything we thought we knew about the modern bride. Marry us, Kendall?
5. Don’t Go Chasing Chanel’s Waterfalls
Ah, yes. Back to 2017. Chanel’s most recent show—the Spring 2018 Ready-To-Wear collection—was the calm serenity we needed in this moment of international clamor. Signifying the ethereal beauty in nature, the show featured a real waterfall, as the models walked upon a boardwalk within a Chanel-infused river. And though Karl Lagerfeld’s sets are always a major talking point after the final Chanel model’s walk, this year all eyes were on Cindy Crawford’s supermodel prodigy of a daughter, Kaia Gerber, and her thigh-high plastic boots and matching hat. The entire show featured the transparent accents which has had us incessantly googling how to wear clear boots to the office ever since the show ended, and we’re anxiously awaiting this trend to take the season by storm. You’ve done it again, Chanel.
4. All Aboard Chanel Airlines
It was all about Chanel Airlines for the Spring 2016 Ready-To-Wear collection showcase when Karl Lagerfeld transformed the Grand Palais into an airport terminal. Models pulling rolling suitcases down the runway, arrival and departure signs outfitting the arena, and a slew of airline workers were all part of the show, and it was nearly too much glam for us to handle. We were awed by the cashmere sweaters, herringbone jackets, and gleaming details on every look while the intricate details of the entire display was truly a first-class experience.
3. Je T’aime, Karl
One of our most favorite runway show elements from Karl Lagerfeld’s extensive book of tricks was the Eiffel Tower replica featured in the Fall 2017 Coutour show. The sight of a nearly exact clone of the legendary Paris landmark was enough to stun the crowds, but it was the heartfelt moment when the mayor of the City of Lights awarded Mr. Lagerfeld the highest honor: Médaille Grand Vermeil de la Ville. It was a beautiful moment for the man who basically defined Parisian style, while the fashion we saw on the runway rivaled that of sheer perfection. Chock-full of tweed pieces that screamed Chanel, the show brought us lavish ankle-length coats, fit and flare skirts, and puffy sleeves that were sincerely dream-worthy.
2. The Protest
Karl Lagerfeld brought the streets of Paris to the Grand Palais for the Spring 2015 Ready-To-Wear show which started off as a tranquil scene on a French boulevard before a full-on orchestrated protest broke out, where models such as Cara Delevinge and Gisele Bündchen held politically charged signs while marching down the runway. It was a bold moment, as the dignified fashion empire Chanel brought fashion, politics, and social issues to the big stage. Tailored dresses, textured jackets, and bold print pantsuits were the backdrop for this runway show that took fashion to the streets—literally.
1. Prepare For An Epic Lift Off
Perhaps one of the most shocking runway shows to date, the Chanel spaceship that took off into the glass-enclosed sky was a moment that no one will forget. The Fall 2017 Ready-To-Wear collection offered celestial-inspired pieces that included silver jackets, shimmery tweed suits, and sparkling tights. The show was truly a spectacle, but the big finish was the Chanel Shuttle blast off, thanks to pyrotechnics and hydraulics, capping off an amazing finish to what seemed to be another remarkable product of Karl Lagerfeld’s genius.