At the age of 85, fashion mogul Karl Lagerfeld has died.
In the midst of mourning, I think it's important to celebrate life. Because if not for Karl Lagerfeld, where would the fashion world be? Where would we be without 90's Chanel? What would Fendi be without Karl's iconic reinvention of the 'F'? Would the name Karl ever even have sounded cool? Thankfully, we will never have to know.
Lagerfeld was everything anyone ever wanted to be; great taste, sleek, mysterious, knowledgeable. He was born in Germany to a common family in 1933. However, just as your mom would do, Lagerfeld was known to blur the exact year he was born in and claimed that no one ever knew the truth.
His career in fashion was bright from the beginning. As Balmain's apprentice, Lagerfeld was destined to do great things. Not only because of his great sense in style and the foreseeing ability he had for trends, but also because he was worldly, and educated. A relatively unknown or seldom known fact about Karl is his massive book collection. Lagerfeld had claimed to have had over 300,000 books, and is known to have said, "I hate leisure, except reading."
The design icon quickly rose to international fame when he took over the house of Chanel in 1982. This is where the iconic looks from Chanel originated. The short constructed tweed suits, the Chanel symbol brooches, and the chain belts that are still seen today and are currently on-trend!
Karl's reinvention of Coco Chanel's iconic LBD as well as the tailored suits and ultra-femme silhouettes are what brought him and the house of Chanel notoriety in the 90s. Lagerfeld once stated about Coco Chanel, "My job is not to do what she did, but what she would have done." And isn't that the job of every creative director? Lagerfeld not only sought to do that, but DID that, and continued to keep doing so for over 30 years.
Even though Lagerfeld was known for his iconic pieces and vision, there were definitely some discrepancies regarding his character.
In 1993, when Lagerfeld was the creative director for Fendi, the most iconic and drama-filled event in fashion history happened. Anna Wintour, Vogue's editor-in-chief since 1988, walked out of his show. That year, Karl decided to display his line of swimsuits on an Italian adult film star and her entourage of dancers. The show was a little too risque for Wintour and she promptly left.
Last year, I had written an article about Lagerfeld and his opinion on the #MeToo campaign, and they were well, insulting. During an interview with Numéro magazine, he continuously boasted about himself, as well as mention other designers and their lack of talent as well as their jealousy towards him. It was in this interview that he had also made harsh comments about women which ironic because all of his work revolves around women!
Lagerfeld has also had issues in the past with other sexist and racist comments, and every time, the industry erupts into chaos. Yet, somehow Lagerfeld is never bothered by the chaos. I think that's what made him a great visionary, artist, and designer: his carelessness for what others think.