Karl Lagerfeld: The King of Fashion (1933-2019)

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His Destination at 14: Paris

The mystique and glamour that lives in the fashion world today was greatly influenced by the unsurpassable Karl Lagerfeld. Lagerfeld was born in Germany around 1933. At the age of 14, he moved to Paris to pursue his artistic passions. During this time, he entered a fashion competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat in which he submitted a series of sketches and fabric samples and ultimately won first place in the coat category. This became the beginning of the exposure of his work as he met extraordinary French designers such as Yves Saint Laurent. In 1958, he served as an assistant to French designer, Pierre Balmain, for three years and then worked with Jean Patou (another French designer) where he took part in the creation of ten haute couture collections. In 1964, he proceeded to work freelance with the French fashion house Chloé where he was soon designing their whole collection. A few years later, Lagerfeld worked with Fendi for some time.

Revamping Fashion

By the beginning of the 1980s, Karl Lagerfeld’s name was all over fashion history.  He became known for revamping fashion clothing lines. Around this time, Amy Weinheimer, chairman of Chanel, contacted Lagerfeld offering him a job. The New York Times revealed Lagerfeld’s response to the topic: “Everybody said, ‘Don’t touch it, it’s dead, it will never come back.’ But by then I thought it was a challenge.” Though he admired Coco Chanel’s work greatly, he subverted her style by implementing his modern touch on every single garment; he reinvented their image. With the bouclé tweeds, pearls, and pencil silhouettes, Lagerfeld made Chanel what it is today. In 1984, he created his own line and told Vogue “I’ve not been dreaming all my life to have my name over a shop. Now, we’ll put it there because it’s the right moment to do it; and I made this name, why not use it?” In 2005, he sold the brand to American designer, Tommy Hilfiger, yet remained its chief creative and was fully involved in the design process.

Despite his collaborations with many top designers, it was his work at Chanel that made Karl Lagerfeld immortal. His knowledge of photography and film awarded him a vision for extraordinary ideas for fashion shows. Many had attempted his method for refurbishing a brand, however no one has seemed to level with his success. The capacity of his creativity was not be questioned–it had no limits.

The god of Fashion

The unfortunate event of his death happened on February 19, 2019 in Paris. On this day, the fashion industry suffered a great loss. Bruno Pavlovsky, President of Fashion at Chanel said “Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of CHANEL’s success throughout the world. Today, not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind to whom I gave carte blanche in the early 1980s to reinvent the brand”. Today Virginie Viard, Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years, stands as his successor at Chanel. Notwithstanding, Karl Lagerfeld is one and only.  May the god of fashion rest in peace.

Works Cited

https://www.biography.com/people/karl-lagerfeld-9371367

https://www.businessoffashion.com/community/people/karl-lagerfeld

https://www.theguardian.com/fashion/2019/feb/19/karl-lagerfeld-fashion-designer-dies-aged-85

https://www.chanel.com/us/fashion/karl-lagerfeld/