Amanda Harlech, the designer’s muse and intellectual provocateur, described Karl’s work as “dream steps”. But speaking after the screening, she revealed the designer’s tougher side. “He always called me super lazy because I didn’t just get on with it,” she admitted. “He would say, ‘Don’t hang around. Just commit. Get it out there.’”https://www.instagram.com/p/By7Wa3pHGhd/?utm_source=ig_embedThe mix of the designer’s own sharp and often witty words with those of the on-screen contributors – who included, among so many, artist Jeff Koons and French actress Fanny Ardant – was exceptional enough. But the addition of a multi-layered audience, all of whom had been touched by the designer, added personal emotions.
Model Claudia Schiffer, still with the wicked smile that Karl first brought to the Chanel runway in 1990, reminisced on the steps leading up to the Grand Palais. “My best memory was being in Vienna for a campaign when Karl suddenly started a waltz, laughing hysterically in front of the whole team,” the model said. “He didn’t care about anything but dancing, because he loved waltzing and he could do it really well.”https://www.instagram.com/p/By8p2y_nQBu/?utm_source=ig_embedSchiffer pulled out another memory stick of Karl as a dandy. “In the early days, for a campaign in Monte Carlo, he had a whole picnic set up in the very hot sun,” she said. “He would arrive fully dressed in his suit, saying, ‘I’m a bit worried because my hair goes fuzzy in the humidity.’ We, of course, were all in summer dresses. And he was fully dressed with boots at the beach for the picnic. And then he had the butler come in with the silver service.”
Ines de la Fressange, another model whose fashion life was kick-started by Karl in the 1980s, reminisced about their time together. “We were always escaping from fittings to go see a painting in some antique dealer’s shop or to just go for coffee, eat sausages and drink Coca Cola. Not the sort of sophisticated thing people would imagine,” Ines said. “But he taught me one sentence that I remember everyday: ‘You have to try. That’s why we’re doing fittings.’ It means you always have to risk a little bit, never do obvious things and never get bored. He didn’t think fashion was meant for museums. He always told me, ‘It’s not art; it has to be useful, we need sleeves and we have to wear it, and if it’s useful then it’s not art anymore.’”https://www.instagram.com/p/By8si0KHHH-/?utm_source=ig_embedDesigner and family matriarch Rosita Missoni had yet another story, of Karl coming to stay in Italy where she watched his prolific sketching, when he would draw “every single dress”. “Then, when he was coming for lunch, he used to make a little drawing of me and my little black dog jumping.”https://www.instagram.com/p/By8qJg4HQ7s/?utm_source=ig_embedHubert Barrère, artistic director of Lesage Couture embroidery, supported by Chanel, explained what it was like to work with Karl – from age 17, saying: “He made me grow, grow, grow – always – more, more, more! He was an exceptional man.”
After the display of Robert Carsen’s sheer bravado and imagination, another thing that was striking thing about the event was the meld of executives, from Chanel’s CEO Alain Wertheimer, famous for keeping himself under the radar, to Bernard Arnault, chairman and chief executive of LVMH, who was seated front-row with the First Lady of France, Brigitte Macron.