On the 19th February 2019, the world of fashion – and indeed beyond – was shocked by the news that Karl Lagerfeld, design powerhouse and fashion icon in his own right, had sadly passed away.
A fastidious and multi-talented creator, Lagerfeld’s exhausting schedule saw him designing fifteen collections a year for three labels – Chanel, Fendi and his own eponymous label. Although he seemed to be seldom trifled by the volume of work he undertook, preferring instead to almost be defined by it. He is quoted as having once famously said, “Why should I stop working? If I do, I’ll die and it’ll all be finished!”
His career started in 1954, when aged just 21, after winning the coat category of what is now the Woolmark Prize, Lagerfeld began working at Balmain, before moving to Jean Patou in 1958. He then joined Chloe in 1964, turning into the globally recognised label we know today, and a year later, in 1965, he began designing for Fendi. As Vogue rather succinctly put it, “Lagerfeld began designing for Fendi before man walked on the moon.”
The label for which Lagerfeld is perhaps best known, however, acquired his services in 1982, when Chanel’s then-chairman asked him to design for the house. Adamant that he would rather not simply repeat Coco’s own designs, Lagerfeld updated the ethos of the brand and in so doing, turned the house into arguably the most well-known designer label in the world.
When asked once about his legacy, Lagerfeld was almost aghast that anyone should consider him a celebrity. “Personally, I don’t even think I’m that famous,” he said. “Now Choupette [his beloved Birman cat] really is famous – she has become the most famous cat in the world!”
Watch our exclusive interview with Karl Lagerfeld by – conducted for The Luxury Channel by Imran Amed, Founder and Editor-In-Chief of Business of Fashion – where the designer discusses his personal inspirations, the concept of luxury, the influence of the internet – and how he uses an iPad as interior decoration…. Click here to watch.