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An awe-struck audience of 500 looked on as Chinese models strutted down a raised platform along a restored section of the Great Wall, originally built centuries ago to keep out the barbarian hordes
Photo: © Getty Images
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British beauty Thandie and her fellow actress Kate, both dressed in top-to-toe Fendi, admitted to being overwhelmed by the sunset show
Photo: © Getty Images

Fashion maestro Karl had helped create a new line for luxury label Fendi which was unveiled on the night
Photo: © Getty Images

Karl Lagerfeld turns Great Wall of China into fashion runway

23 OCTOBER 2007

It’s taken a year of organisation but finally the people behind luxury fashion house Fendi have achieved their dream of hosting a runway show on the historic Great Wall of China.

Some of China's biggest stars, including Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon actress Ziyi Zhang, as well as the West’s Kate Bosworth and Thandie Newton looked on as 88 models sashayed down a catwalk on a restored part of the celebrated landmark. "I seriously doubt that there will be anything of this magnitude or anything this magical for a very long time," enthused Superman Returns actress Kate of the sunset extravaganza.

Oscar-winner Thandie, stunning in a yellow Fendi frock, was equally enthusiastic about the one-off event – said to have cost $10 million - which showcased an entire mini-collection created just for the occasion, as well as select looks from designer Karl Lagerfeld’s Spring 2008 collection for Fendi. "Beforehand, part of me was thinking, ‘How can you justify using the Great Wall of China in this way?’," she admitted to Vogue. “Seeing the show up there tonight - that is how you can justify it.”

Fashion maestro Karl explained that he "played with circles" to achieve a graceful, harmonious effect. Models wore sheer and semi-opaque dresses over shorts teamed with round-toe strappy heels which Kate had tested out the previous evening, declaring they were "phenomenal".

After a fabulous finale in which top Chinese model Du Juan appeared in a black, empress-style cheongsam gown, guests were warmed up with cups of hot chocolate or brandy and then driven to an alfresco dinner where dancers suspended by ropes provided further thrills.

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