The fashion world went into mourning earlier this month when Karl Lagerfeld’s death was announced. The fashion designer, who had been creative director for Chanel since 1983, passed away at the age of 85 on 19 February 2019.
As thousands came out to pay tribute to one of the most prolific designers of modern times, it was announced that he wouldn’t have a funeral and his wishes would be respected.
Lagerfeld had been open about his desire to avoid any kind of big funeral and once famously said that he’d “rather die than be buried”. Cremation was, therefore, the obvious choice for the designer.
In April last year, he told Numero magazine that he wanted to be cremated and have his ashes scattered with those of his mother, and his cat Choupette, if she died before him.
NDTV also revealed that Lagerfeld had kept half of the ashes of his long-term lover Jacques de Bascher, who died of AIDS in 1989. The news provider noted that he’d told Marie Ottavi, Jacques de Bascher’s biographer, that he had put them “somewhere secret”, adding: “One day they will be added to mine.”
Lagerfeld was also vocal in his opposition to large, grandiose funerals, with the TV station also pointing out his reaction to the ceremony held for Johnny Hallyday in France when he passed away in 2017.
The designer reportedly said: “What a horror! With all the in-fighting with the Hallyday family (over the singer’s will) the funeral felt like a farce.”
On the day of his death, a spokesperson for Chanel merely stated that Mr Lagerfeld’s wishes regarding his cremation and funeral would be honoured.
The Independent reported that Lagerfeld’s “right hand woman” Virginie Viard would be taking over as creative director at the brand. She’d worked with the German designer for over three decades after joining Chanel as an intern in the late 1980s.
Despite his wishes not to have a funeral, many of the fashion world’s greats gathered at the crematorium to say goodbye and pay their final respects to the designer. Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, supermodel Natalia Vodianova and French model Ines de La Fressange were among those in attendance.
The designer had been battling cancer secretly, and had made arrangements for his funeral less than a year before he died. His direct cremation took place in Nanterre near Paris on 22 February 2019.
There are many reasons to consider a direct cremation, like Lagerfeld’s. Among them is that your friends and family will be able to make any remembrance more personal to you – such as by scattering your ashes in a special place, or as in the case of the late designer, with loved ones.
Another reason to consider this kind of funeral is the cost, as a direct cremation is typically much cheaper than alternatives that involve a service and all the other elements that go along with it. Whatever your wishes for your funeral, it’s important that you share them with your loved ones and include them in your will to ensure that they are respected once you’re gone.