Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died, aged 85, in Paris.
He was one of the world’s most iconic designers, at the heart of not one, not two, but three fashion houses.
Karl Lagerfeld had been at the creative helm of Chanel since 1983 and had been designing for Fendi since 1965. He also designed collections for his own brand.
Lagerfeld was born Karl Otto Lagerfeldt in pre-war Germany. He changed his name because he believed Lagerfeld sounded “more commercial”.
The designer emigrated to Paris as a teenager, and became a design assistant for Pierre Balmain.
He began his career with Chanel in 1983, a decade after Coco Chanel died. In 1984 he launched his own name label.
He cut a striking figure wearing a distinctive ensemble of crisp white, high-collared shirts with black tailored jacket and jeans, punctuated with a tie, shades, fingerless gloves and black boots.
“I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that. It is like a mask. And for me the Carnival of Venice lasts all year long,” he once said of his signature look.
Lagerfeld also transformed the catwalk. For the Chanel AW14 show in Paris it became a high-end supermarket.
In 2016 Chanel staged its show in the Cuban capital Havana – the first international fashion show since the 1959 communist revolution, shown in the two images below.
World celebrities gathered at a leafy promenade that was turned into a catwalk for the firm’s Cruise collection, even though Chanel goods are not sold in Cuba.
Celebrities – including actor Vin Diesel and supermodel Gisele Bundchen – attended the show at Havana’s Prado promenade to see Lagerfeld displaying the new collection. Lagerfeld said the line was inspired by Cuba’s “cultural richness”.
The designer had been unwell for several weeks, and had missed a number of fashion shows.
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