There is no part of Karl Lagerfeld’s signature look that isn’t instantly recognizable. From his gloves, to his sunglasses, to his ponytail, the presence of Karl Lagerfeld was undeniable, both in person and in print. In the 1990s, it would’ve been challenging to find a magazine cover without Lagerfeld being adorned by the most famous Supermodels of all time. By all accounts, Lagerfeld was fashion.
Born in Hamburg, Germany in 1933 he developed an appreciation for art and fashion. He followed his passion by joining the House of Fendi in 1965. He worked with Fendi for over 54 years, remaining with them until the day he died. The latest Fendi show debuted in Milan, Italy on February 21, 2019 marking Lagerfeld’s last Fendi women’s Autumn/Winter 2019 collection
Known for his attention to detail, direct criticism and intense curiosity, he was a beloved figure in the fashion industry for over 50 years. His opinion was revered and his ability to create haute-couture ready-to-wear garments is un- matched. His legacy will be forever linked to the transformation and rebirth of House of Chanel, which he joined in 1983. He carried on Coco Chanel’s vision with updated feminine lines that let the body breathe, yet remained tailored and elegant. It is widely reported that he believed one should always look fresh, his Chanel collections reflected that philosophy.
Every Spring and Fall, guests would anxiously await the Chanel collections at Fashion Week. Lager- feld always managed to keep his collections classy and comfortable. He never felt the need to make his models wear outrageous or oversized outfits. The iconic Chanel CC logo was always visible in the show. Afterwards, the CC logo could be seen about town, worn by those who had the means to purchase a little piece of Lagerfeld genius.
His legacy also includes his own brand, KARL LAGERFELD which debuted in 1984. This brand offers beautifully designed pieces at more accessible prices. This brand allows fashion lovers, who don’t quite have the budget for haute-culture, to wear his iconic designs. Many luxury brands create a more affordable line, however, Lagerfeld always kept Chanel high-end. Creating the KARL LAGERFELD brand was a way for him to bring his aesthetic to a new market without compromising the Chanel quality.
Underneath his crafted public persona was a private artist interested in all forms of beauty. Widely known to be a talented sketch artist, he was less known for his interests in photography, interior design, architecture and illustration. Although he rarely spoke in public about his personal life, Lagerfeld shared 18 years with his partner Jacques de Bascher who passed away in 1989. Since then, Lagerfeld has not been linked romantically. He does often express his love and admiration for his cat, Choupette, who has an active Twitter account, two maids and was named in the will.
Lagerfeld achieved fame and fortune with the re-popularization of the House of Chanel, a legacy to be proud of. The man himself will be remembered for his fierce intellect and style. He spoke 4 languages, English, German, French and Italian and was well read on a variety of topics. It has been said that to meet him was to meet a fearless soul who was changing the world.
The word of Karl Lagerfeld’s declining health had begun to spread, and the news of his death came on February 19, 2019 from Paris, France. His influence will live on in the brands he loved so much. He famously said, “Sweatpants after 25 is a sign of defeat.” He believed one should take pride in their appearance and leave a lasting impression – and that he did.