Karl Forever: The Karl Lagerfeld memorial at the Grand Palais

A TOTAL OF 56 black and white portraits of Karl Lagerfeld filled the Grand Palais for his memorial on June 20 2019. The Houses of Chanel, Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld all came to together to pay tribute to the talented designer, an event designed, directed and staged by Robert Carsen. Over 2,500 guests attended, all to mark the brilliant life of Karl.

Karl Forever Chanel feature imageTilda Swinton on stage at the memorial

The memorial was filled with personal testimonials, video clips from throughout his life and included contributions from Karl’s many friends – actresses Tilda Swinton, Fanny Ardant, Cara Delevingne and Helen Mirren, recited and read excerpts from works by his favourite authors and writers, such as Virginia Woolf, Stéphane Mallarmé, Colette and Edith Sitwell.

Karl Forever ChanelAnna Wintour and Bruno Pavlovsky, guests at the memorial

The extraordinary Jookin dancer Lil Buck, the brilliant violinist Charlie Siem (who played Paganini, one of the favourite composers of Karl Lagerfeld’s mother Elizabeth), Argentinian choreographer German Cornejo, accompanied by his troupe of 17 tango dancers and his seven-piece orchestra from Buenos Aires (Carlos Gardel was Karl Lagerfeld’s favourite singer and the tango was his favourite dance), the celebrated pianist Lang Lang (who played Chopin on the grand piano designed by Karl Lagerfeld for the 150th anniversary of Steinway), and American artist Pharrell Williams also performed on stage to pay homage to their friend.

Karl Lagerfeld Forever Chanel memorialPharrell Williams performing at the memorial

The set was inspired by Karl’s favourite colours: black, white and a touch of red. It was the send off Karl would have wanted.

by Alicia Pountney