Spanish actress Penelope Cruz has paid tribute to the late Karl Lagerfeld by walking the Chanel runway for the very first time, carrying a single white rose. The 44-year-old was good friends with the iconic fashion designer, who died on 19 February at the age of 85. The Vicky Cristina Barcelona star joined the Chanel family last year, after being a longtime fan of the luxury designer fashion brand.
The AW19 show, held at the Grand Palais in Paris, was a treat for the eyes as the venue was transformed into a stunning wintry village in Paris, or "Chalet Gardenia" – think log cabins, smoking chimneys and snowy mountains.
Supermodel Cara Delevingne also opened the show. The 26-year-old has been a Chanel brand ambassador since 2015 and a close friend of Karl's. She also had the emotional job of leading the final procession down the snow-covered catwalk. The models were united as they walked arm in arm, and some of the girls couldn't hide their sadness as they wiped away the tears - Cara included.
Kaia Gerber, who collaborated with Karl Lagerfeld via his eponymous label, also walked the show. The 17-year-old is considered one of the hottest models of the moment, and on the news of Karl's passing, the daughter of Cindy Crawford took to Instagram to share her sadness. She wrote: "This one hurts to write. My dearest Karl, you have taught me things that I am eternally grateful for. I cannot put into words how lucky we all are to have been gifted your vision. Your girls love you so much. The world is more beautiful now because of you. Thank you for everything, no one will ever compare."
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The AW19 collection was designed by both Karl and his Chanel successor, Virginie Viard. As expected, the front row was awash with familiar faces. Kristen Stewart and her girlfriend Ashley Benson, Marion Cotillard, Lara Stone all showed up to watch the collection. 90s supermodels Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell were also in attendance.
Guests - who observed a one-minute silence prior to the show starting - were also given a memento to mark Karl's legacy, a touching illustration of the designer alongside the words: "The beat goes on".