German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died.
German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died.

Fashion world mourns icon Karl Lagerfeld

LEGENDARY Chanel fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85 after weeks of ill health. It is reported that he had pancreatic cancer.

The German-born designer, who was the creative director of Chanel, was one of fashion's most iconic and influential figures.

Lagerfeld was artistic director of three separate brands at the same time right up to his death: France's Chanel - the world's richest label - Italy's Fendi and his eponymous line.

Famed for his omnipresent dark sunglasses, white ponytail and black leather gloves, the enigmatic Lagerfeld was arguably the most prolific designer of the modern age.

He died on February 19, French magazine Closer reports.

"The word 'icon' is often overused, but when it comes to fashion design, Karl Lagerfeld really was the epitome of a fashion genius and a much imitated one at that," says news.com.au style commentator, Melissa Hoyer.

"No matter his age, Mr Lagerfeld always remained relevant and at 85, he was still designing four Chanel collections a year including the ready-to-wear pieces as well as the incredibly upmarket, one off, haute couture designs that we would often see on celebrity red carpets.

(L-R) Katy Perry, Karl Lagerfeld, Cara Delevingne and Claudia Schiffer attend the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week in 2017.  Picture:  Getty
(L-R) Katy Perry, Karl Lagerfeld, Cara Delevingne and Claudia Schiffer attend the Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2017-2018 show as part of Haute Couture Paris Fashion Week in 2017. Picture: Getty

"Lagerfeld spent 30 years at the helm of one of the world's most famous fashion houses - Chanel - when he took over the design helm 10 years after the death of Gabrielle 'Coco' Chanel.

"When it comes to world's fashion hierarchy, there is no question that Karl Lagerfeld was at the top and his legacy will go on and on.

"Whether it was a perfume, a lipstick, foundation, quilted handbag, shoe or a more expensive piece of designer clothing, the Chanel label has a cachet, especially with Lagerfeld at the design helm.

Diana, Princess of Wales, German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and British pop-star Elton John, attend the memorial mass for Gianni Versace in 1997.  Picture:  AP
Diana, Princess of Wales, German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and British pop-star Elton John, attend the memorial mass for Gianni Versace in 1997. Picture: AP

"There is no doubt his design and style legacy will continue as nearly every A-list celebrity is a fan of the label and will mourn his passing.

"There is no question that at next week's Academy Awards, the man who has dressed every A-list star will absolutely be honoured."

Karl Lagerfeld waves after the presentation of the Chanel Spring/Summer 2019 ready-to-wear fashion collection in Pari last October.
Karl Lagerfeld waves after the presentation of the Chanel Spring/Summer 2019 ready-to-wear fashion collection in Pari last October.

 

The famous workaholic was busy right up until the end. He missed two of Chanel's haute couture shows in Paris on January 22, but the fashion company only said at the time he was feeling tired.

It was the first time Lagerfeld had ever missed giving a catwalk bow at the end of a Chanel show.

The designer made headlines last October when appeared in public for the first time in decades without his famous sunglasses.

The German fashion designer in 1996 with  Claudia Schiffer and  Naomi Campbell. Picture: AP
The German fashion designer in 1996 with Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell. Picture: AP

Lagerfeld was known for his model muses, but in particular his favourite feline inspiration: his cat Choupette.

He was famously close to his cat, and as recently as last April, he told Numéro magazine that he wanted to be buried with his pet.

Karl Lagerfeld and his beloved cat, Choupette.  Picture:  Supplied
Karl Lagerfeld and his beloved cat, Choupette. Picture: Supplied

"There will be no funeral. I'd rather die! I've asked to be cremated and want my ashes to be scattered along with my mother's ... and (my cat) Choupette's, if she dies before I do," he said.

LAGERFELD ZINGERS

Known for his dry sense of humour, the fashion icon was famous for his quips such as "Sweatpants are a sign of defeat" and "I'm very much down to earth. Just not this earth".

He also once said: "I don't want to be real in other people's lives. I want to be an apparition."

He was at times criticised for his verbal attacks on women.

Lagerfeld called Adele, “too fat”.  Picture:  Getty
Lagerfeld called Adele, “too fat”. Picture: Getty

 

Lagerfeld said Pippa Middleton should only be pictured from behind.  Picture:  Getty
Lagerfeld said Pippa Middleton should only be pictured from behind. Picture: Getty

In 2012, he said about singer Adele: "She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice".

After Prince William's wedding to Kate Middleton he said she has a "nice silhouette", but that her sister Pippa "struggles".

"I don't like the sister's face. She should only show her back," he said.

Heidi Klum, left, and her ex Seal.  Picture:  AP
Heidi Klum, left, and her ex Seal. Picture: AP

On Heidi Klum he said "I don't know Heidi Klum. She was never known in France. Claudia Schiffer also doesn't know who she is," he said.

And on her former husband, Seal: "I am no dermatologist but I wouldn't want his skin. Mine looks better than his. He is covered in craters."

On Michelle Obama: "I don't understand the change of hair. I adore Madame Obama, I love her. But there is a news reader at LCI which has this haircut...Frankly, this doesn't suit her. The fringe was a bad idea, it's not good."

He said of Princess Diana in 2006: "She was pretty and she was sweet, but she was stupid."

Karl Lagerfeld with  Nicole Kidman and director Baz Luhrman at a Chanel show in Paris in 2005.
Karl Lagerfeld with Nicole Kidman and director Baz Luhrman at a Chanel show in Paris in 2005.

WHO WAS KARL LAGERFELD

Born in Hamburg in 1933, Lagerfeld was inspired to go into fashion when he accompanied his mother to a Dior fashion show as a child.

He got his start in Paris working under Pierre Balmain in the 1950s, moving three years later to the House of Patou. He had stints as a freelancer for Chloe and was hired by Fendi in 1967.

The German  fashion designer in 1984. Picture: Getty
The German fashion designer in 1984. Picture: Getty

He began his long career with Chanel in 1983, a decade after Coco Chanel died.

The following year, he launched his own name label.

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, left, poses with models in Krefeld, Germany, in 1973.  Picture: AP
German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, left, poses with models in Krefeld, Germany, in 1973. Picture: AP

"At that time, I already had a good reputation, I was doing Fendi and Chloe. I had been warned, 'Do not take Chanel, it's awful," he told Madame Figaro magazine.

"When I arrived, she (Coco) had been dead for 10 years and everyone lived in the respect of her memory. If you want to kill a house, show (her) respect."

Lagerfeld rarely spoke about his love life but in 2017 he opened up about his partner of 18 years, the late Frenchman Jacques de Bascher.

Lagerfeld spent De Bascher finals days back in 1989 next to his partner's hospital bed as he died of AIDS aged 38.

Lagerfeld said even though they were together almost two decades they never had sex, because he didn't believe in sleeping with people he was in love with.

"I personally only like high-class escorts. I don't like sleeping with people I really love. I don't want to sleep with them because sex cannot last, but affection can last forever. I think this is healthy," he told Vice magazine. "And for the way the rich live, this is possible. But the other world, I think they need porn."

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld poses during the presentation of his fragrance 'KL' in Hamburg, Germany. Picture:  AP
German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld poses during the presentation of his fragrance 'KL' in Hamburg, Germany. Picture: AP

 

TRIBUTES FLOW FOR LAGERFELD

Bernard Arnault, owner of the luxury giant LVMH - the most powerful man in fashion - said he was "infinitely saddened" by the loss of a "very dear friend" and a "creative genius".

"Fashion and culture have lost a major inspiration. He contributed to making Paris the fashion capital of the world and Fendi one of the most innovative of Italian brands," the billionaire said.

"It's a privilege to be able to say that you've worked with him, that you've listened to him speak, that you've talked with him, that you've been dressed by him," said the French actress and singer Vanessa Paradis on Instagram.

"Karl Lagerfeld is an immense personality, someone out of the ordinary," French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner told RTL radio.

Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, said his creative genius was "breathtaking".

"Today the world lost a giant among men," she said.

"Karl was brilliant, he was wicked, he was funny, he was generous beyond measure, and he was deeply kind. I will miss him so very much."



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