Karl Lagerfeld Has Died At 85

The Chanel designer has passed away after weeks of ill health.

Karl Lagerfeld dies

by Grazia |

The legendary Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85 after several weeks of ill health.

In 1983, Chanel designer Karl Largefeld assumed the position after Gabrielle (Coco) Chanel died. For the last three decades Lagerfeld, nicknamed Kaiser Karl and King Karl, has been directing the haute couture label's output.

His legacy is so much more than just clothes - from the humour Karl Lagerfeld injected into Twitter with his beloved cat Choupette to his choice of muses (Lily-Rose Depp, Adut Akech Bior, Claudia Schiffer and Kate Moss), his reach has always reached far beyond the catwalk.

He was notably missing from the Chanel haute couture in Paris on January 22nd. It was the first time in his career that he had ever missed giving a catwalk bow after a show.

At the time, Chanel released a statement saying that he was tired:

'Mr Lagerfeld, artistic director of Chanel, who was feeling tired, asked Virginie Viard, director of the creative studio of the house, to represent him.'

Today, Chanel annouced: 'It is with deep sadness that the House of CHANEL announces the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, the Creative Director for the CHANEL Fashion House since 1983.

An extraordinary creative individual, Karl Lagerfeld reinvented the brand’s codes created by Gabrielle Chanel: the CHANEL jacket and suit, the little black dress, the precious tweeds, the two-tone shoes, the quilted handbags, the pearls and costume jewellery. Regarding Gabrielle Chanel, he said, “My job is not to do what she did, but what she would have done. The good thing about Chanel is it is an idea you can adapt to many things.”

A prolific creative mind with endless imagination, Karl Lagerfeld explored many artistic horizons, including photography and short films. The House of CHANEL benefitted from his talent for all the branding campaigns related to Fashion since 1987. Finally, one cannot refer to Karl Lagerfeld without mentioning his innate sense of repartee and self-mockery'.

The French couture houses' President of Fashion, Bruno Pavlovsky, has said: 'Fashion show after fashion show, collection after collection, Karl Lagerfeld left his mark on the legend of Gabrielle Chanel and the history of the House of CHANEL. He steadfastly promoted the talent and expertise of CHANEL’s ateliers and Métiers d’Art, allowing this exceptional know-how to shine throughout the world. The greatest tribute we can pay today is to continue to follow the path he traced by – to quote Karl – ‘continuing to embrace the present and invent the future'.

'I am profoundly saddened as today we have lost a unique man and an unrivalled designer, who has given so much to FENDI and to myself. I was only a child when I first saw Karl. Our relationship was very special, based on a deep and very genuine affection. We had a lot of mutual appreciation and endless respect. Karl Lagerfeld has been my mentor and my point of reference. A blink of an eye was enough to understand each other. For FENDI and myself, the creative genius of Karl has been and will always be our guiding light, moulding the Maison’s DNA. I will miss him deeply and always carry with me the memories of our days together,' Silvia Venturini Fendi, FENDI Creative Director for Menswear, Accessories and Kidswear, said in a statement today.

Who will replace Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel?

Chanel has announced that Virginie Viard, Director of Chanel's Fashion Creation Studio, alongside Alain Wertheimer will be continuing Karl Lagerfeld's legacy at the label.

See: Karl Lagerfeld's Prolific Legacy Through His Most Iconic Chanel Looks

Gallery

Karl Lagerfeld's Most Iconic Chanel Moments.

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Chanel, SS94 runway. Naomi Campbell walking the Chanel runway in 1994 in tweed and a chain belt showed Karl Lagerfeld flexing his sartorial muscles as he pushed the house codes to their extreme edge.

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Chanel, SS94 runway. In 1993, Karl Lagerfeld was already keenly aware of mixing creating commercially viable pieces, like swimsuits. The high-low appeal was amplified by the use of muses like supermodel Naomi Campbell.

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Chanel, SS94 runway.Karl Lagerfeld was quick to spot the power of the supers and was a firm supporter of Claudia Schiffer's career from the get-go.

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Chanel, Haute Couture 1995 runway.And the bride (Claudia Schiffer) wore white. As soon as Karl Lagerfeld took the reigns of Chanel he began modernising the sartorial language Coco Chanel created for her eponymous label, including the use of tweed and cardigan jackets.

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Chanel, SS96 runway.Kate Moss at the height of her 'waif' appeal in the mid-90s wearing a blue tweed suit typifies how Karl Largerfeld was able to constantly transform and update this iconic house fabric.

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Chanel, SS96 runway.Eva Herzigova's Chanel swimsuit was just as iconic in the 90s as when Kim Kardashian wore it in 2018.

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Prince William with Princess Diana in a Chanel suit, 1997.Princess Diana wore Chanel time and again until reportedly she felt no longer comfortable sporting the double 'C' logo as it resembled the initials of Charles and Camila too closely.

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Chanel, SS13 runway.Who can forget the hula hoop bag from 2012? This enormous bag, which was later purchased by Kris Jenner, is a prime example of Kaiser Karl's ability to create a 'fashion moment' in other words grab the front page of newspapers with a fun reimagining of a classic Chanel item.

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Khloe Kardashian carrying Chanel's world traveller backpack.As Khloe Kardashian entered LAX airport in 2014 she swung Chanel's scribbled-over backpack onto her arm. This item was a token from the brand's collection that captured 'Gap Yah' culture.

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Rihanna at the AW14 runway. Rihanna at the AW14 Chanel fashion show wearing trainers and a belt bag is just a small insight into how far ahead of the trends Karl Lagerfeld was.

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Chanel, AW14 runway.For Karl Lagerfeld the world was his muse. He was able to turn the mundane, like supermarket shopping and consumption culture, into esoteric, humourful accessories that became instantly collectable. For instance, in March 2014, he transformed the Grand Palais into a Stepford Wives supermarket where models, like Cara Delevigne, shopped for 'Chanel' branded groceries and wore bags wrapped in cellophane.

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Kiera Knightly at the Golden Globes 2015.The British actress Kiera Knightly has enjoyed a long and fruitful partnership with Chanel, which included Karl Lagerfeld designing her wedding dress - a short white mini with a cross-body Chanel bag.

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Chanel, SS15 runway.As the conversation around feminism heated up around the world, Karl Largefeld turned the Chanel SS15 runway into a pro-women and equality protest.

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Chanel, SS16 runway. Karl Lagerfeld explored ideas around sustainability within fashion in Chanel's SS16 runway.

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Chanel, SS17 runway.With his finger on the pulse, Karl Largerfeld took inspiration from AI, high-tech robots by showcasing the Chanel show in a makebelieve data centre within the Grand Palais.

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Chanel, Haute Couture 2017.Alongside anointing trends, Karl Lagerfeld was a maker or models, including Lily-Rose Depp.

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Chanel, AW18 runway. Chanel's sets are notoriously lavish, including the AW18 catwalk that saw a branded spaceship lift off.

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Chanel, Cruise 2018 runway. As creative director of Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld oversaw the enermous output of spring-summer, autumn-winter, cruse, resort and two couture collections a year. Each show's set was almost as important at setting the mood of the collection as the clothes and handpicked models.

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Chanel, Haute Couture 2018 runway. The Chanel bride has a very hallowed place in history, something that Sundanese model Adut Akech Bior came to realise in July 2018 when she was the second WoC model to hold this position.

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Chanel, SS19 runway. For Chanel's last runway collection with Karl Largerfeld present the brand transformed the Grand Palais into a beach, on which Kaia Gerber walked barefoot.

Gallery
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Chanel, SS94 runway. Naomi Campbell walking the Chanel runway in 1994 in tweed and a chain belt showed Karl Lagerfeld flexing his sartorial muscles as he pushed the house codes to their extreme edge.

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