As the industry mourns the loss of one of fashion’s most prolific designers, we reminisce some of his most iconic moments.
Despite having an unprecedented impact on fashion houses Chloe and Fendi, Karl’s most iconic legacy owes itself to the revival of Chanel. It was in 1983 when Karl Lagerfeld inherited 70 years of the Chanel fashion legacy. After the death of its founder left the label struggling, Karl at the time referred to the label as ‘static’ and ‘tired.’ Though with his intricate and creative approach to design, Lagerfeld managed to salvage Chanel’s image of ultimate luxury, helping it flourish on a global level. By integrating the brand’s now infamous double C’s and adapting the boxy tweeds and pearls to suit the modern age, Lagerfeld brought the house of Chanel to heights it had never before reached.
2. The Karl Lagerfeld-H&M Collaboration
Lagerfeld sent waves across the luxury fashion world when he collaborated with fast fashion brand H&M. He was the very first high-end designer to do so and did with the aim of making fashion more approachable. When his $20 T-shirts and $129 sequin jackets hit the high streets, the collection sold out almost immediately in stores across Europe and the US. The likes of Versace and Balmain are now following suit with their own high-street label collabs.
3. The Great Wall Of China Fendi Show
Fulfilling the role of creative director for Fendi for almost 55 years, Lagerfeld sustained the longest relationship in the fashion world between a designer and fashion house. To showcase Fendi’s Fall ‘07 collection, Lagerfeld used one of the world's most famous landmarks—the Great Wall of China. Turning the historical landmark into a runway reportedly cost the fashion house $10 million and a whole year to plan. The show featured 88 looks—a number associated with prosperity in China and the colour red, for luck. When creative director for Fendi menswear,Silvia Fendi was asked where the label’s show would go next, she responded: “Maybe the moon.” You get the feeling Lagerfeld would have loved that idea.
4. His Many Muse’s
The creative genius had many muses over his the course of life. He had dressed some of the world’s most famous and influential women, whilst also embracing new generations of emerging talent. He once said: "The woman is the most perfect doll that I have dressed with delight and admiration."
Lagerfeld was known for forming creative partnerships with some of the world most glamourous women, championing their talent for the world to endure. Some supermodels even claim that they attribute the success of their careers to him. His most notable muses were supermodels Helena Christensen, Claudia Schiffer and Naomi Campbell, and in recent years, Gigi Hadid and Cindy Crawford's daughter Kaia Gerber.
5. His Final Show
Lagerfeld pioneered extravagant fashion show sets. From a Chanel airport terminal set to a rocket launch, Lagerfeld was the mastermind behind some of fashion’s most spectacular shows. His very final show for Chanel took place this January in Paris. For the label’s Spring-Summer ‘19 Haute Couture Collection, Lagerfeld invited show-goers to ‘Villa Chanel.’ The visionary turned the Grand Palais into a mediterranean garden complete with a villa, swimming pool and landscape grounds. In just a few days time, Lagerfeld’s final collection for fashion house Fendi will be presented at Milan Fashion Week.