Today, the world is thinking about Karl Lagerfeld.
According to a statement from his eponymous brand made this morning, it was announced that the acclaimed designer and visionary behind two leading fashionhouses – Chanel and Fendi – passed away in his adopted city of Paris, aged 85.
The House of KARL LAGERFELD shares, with deep emotion and sadness, the passing of its creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, on February 19, 2019, in Paris, France,” reads the statement, posted on Lagerfeld’s official Instagram account. “He was one of the most influential and celebrated designers of the 21st century and an iconic, universal symbol of style. Driven by a phenomenal sense of creativity, Karl was passionate, powerful and intensely curious. He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the greatest designers of our time, and there are no words to express how much he will be missed.”
Designing clothing for pop stars such as Rihanna and Lady Gaga, Lagerfeld was himself a music obsessive. He invited artists such as Chromatics, A. G. Cook, and Hercules & Love Affair to perform at fashion shows early in their careers. In 2012, he was criticized for calling Adele “a little too fat” and forced to issue an apology. That year, he invited Azealia Banks to perform at his house, starred in a music video with Snoop Dogg, and shot a Florence + the Machine single cover photo. He later directed Pharrell in a promotional video for Chanel. Lagerfeld continued designing until near the time of his death.
Through ready-to-wear, couture, accessories, perfume, interiors, illustrations, photography, Lagerfeld has left an impressive legacy – one which is set to remain unparalleled. Here, to commend the achievements of perhaps the world’s most important designer is a timeline of the most defining dates in his life and career.
1933 | Lagerfeld is born in Hamburg, Germany. He often insisted that nobody was aware of his real birth date, claiming on the French TV channel France2 that he was “born neither in 1933 nor 1938”.
1947 | Lagerfeld makes a bold decision to move to Paris at the age of 14.
1954 | Lagerfeld places first in a design competition at the International Wool Secretariat (now known as the International Woolmark Prize) and is applauded for his illustration of a coat.
1955 | Lagerfeld is subsequently offered a job as Pierre Balmain’s assistant, who quickly took his winning illustration to production.
1957 | Lagerfeld moves to work with French fashion designer Jean Patou, beginning to design two haute couture collections per year.
1960 | His skirt designs for the Spring/Summer 1960 season were dubbed the shortest to have been seen in Paris.
1960 | A career break was calling for Lagerfeld, who took two years away from Paris to spend mostly on beaches. He remarked, “I guess I studied life.”
1962 | Lagerfeld embarks on a freelance career, starting with Tiziani and Valentino.
1964 | Lagerfeld begins to freelance for French fashion house Chloé.
1965 | Lagerfeld is offered the position of creative director at luxury Italian house Fendi. He begins to oversee designs for fur lines, ready-to-wear collections, and accessories.
1966 | Lagerfeld is additionally appointed head designer at Chloé, with key customers including Grace Kelly, Brigitte Bardot, and Jackie Kennedy.
1975 | Lagerfeld is dubbed the first designer to launch a fragrance without having his own label. He debuts an original scent for Chloé.
1983 | Lagerfeld is appointed the artistic director of Chanel, taking control of ready-to-wear, couture and accessories. He later interlocked the signature “CC” monograph that the house has since been known for.
1984 | Lagerfeld launches his own eponymous label, developing an image that paralleled his own sartorial choices – refined tailoring, Parisian-inspired, with an understated edge. He claimed it would be used to fashion “intellectual sexiness”.
1987 | Lagerfeld begins to photograph his own campaigns. His photography is helmed and transformed into several art books throughout the rest of his life.
1999 | His own bookshop, 7L, opens on the Left Bank in Paris.
2004 | Lagerfeld is the first high-fashion designer to collaborate with high street retailer H&M, designing a capsule collection that sold out on the first day of its release.
2005 | Lagerfeld sells his own eponymous label to Tommy Hilfiger, under the agreement that he can continue with full creative control at the brand.
2008 | Lagerfeld’s name is added to Le Petit Larousse Illustré, France’s most iconic dictionary.
2010 | The Fashion Institute Of Technology awards Lagerfeld with the Couture Council Fashion Visionary Award.
2011 | French model Baptiste Giabiconi gifts Lagerfeld a Birman cat, which he calls Choupette.
2012 | Net-A-Porter creates a new line – Karl – with the designer.
2017 | The house of Chanel shares its financial figures for the first time: £1.35 billion had been made the previous year.
December 2017 | The British Fashion Council names Lagerfeld the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award at the British Fashion Awards.
January 2019 | Chanel’s Spring 2019 womenswear couture line is unveiled in Paris. For the first time in history, Lagerfeld is not present to conclude the show.
19 February 2019 | Lagerfeld dies in Paris at the age of 85.
Rest controversially KARL. You will be greatly missed. Ps. Your name only makes sense when it’s written in capital letters.
Courtesy of Shutterstock/Getty Images
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Elle magazine. April 2014 Issue.
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Vogue Magazine. October 2012. Web.