Karl Lagerfeld: Tribute To A Fashion Legend
Karl Lagerfeld: Tribute To A Fashion Legend
On Tuesday 19th February 2019, the world of fashion mourned the passing of designer and creative innovator Karl Lagerfeld. He died in Paris, a place where he lived and worked for most of his adult life. Karl Lagerfeld was one of the most influential and celebrated designers of the 21st century and an iconic symbol of style. At Designer Childrenswear, we are proud stockists of Karl Lagerfeld Kids and thought it would be fitting to put together Karl Lagerfeld: Tribute To A Fashion Legend for this incredible man who helped to change the face of fashion forever.
Karl Lagerfeld: A History
Karl Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1933. His fashion career began quite early on when he won 1st Prize in a contest organised by the International Wool Association, for his sketch of a coat. The coat went on to be produced by Pierre Balmain, who shortly afterwards, offered the young Karl a job as an assistant which he accepted, leading him to become Balmain’s apprentice for three years . From 1958 onwards, Karl became the artistic director for Jean Patou, worked for Chloé and Fendi (a collaboration that lasted until his recent death) and became one of the first freelancers in the modern fashion industry, working between France, Italy, England and Germany. His most notable job in fashion however was his work as creative director of Chanel, the house where he really made his name and established his status as a successful and forward thinking fashion innovator. As well as this, he set up his namesake fashion house in 1984 whilst continuing his collaborations with Fendi and Chanel. His accolades as a designer are impressive; he received the Couture Council Fashion Visionary Award from the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York in 2010 and the Outstanding Achievement Award at the British Fashion Awards in 2018, along with many others.
Alongside his exceptional design skills, Karl Lagerfeld was also successful in many other fields. In 1987, he moved behind the camera to shoot his own campaigns, going on to become a renowned photographer in his field. Similarly, he contributed illustrations to children’s stories, launched a publishing company specialising in visual books (1999) and after changing his image and losing 93lbs (2000), he even launched a successful diet book selling thousands of copies worldwide. More recently, in 2017, he designed two suites in the iconic Hôtel de Crillon in Paris and a 6 star, 290 room hotel in Macau, proving that he was a master of design not just in fashion, but in the interior world too.
Karl Lagerfeld and Chanel
Karl Lagerfeld was a great long-term successor to Gabrielle Chanel and was responsible with re-establishing and redefining the famous style codes of the house. Showing his first collection in the eighties, he reinterpreted the synonymous Chanel style by recreating the famous Chanel suit, preserving the use of tweed and bringing back the two-toned pumps, and quilted handbags which went on to become famous icons of the house. His first collection in the eighties was met with some criticism, but once settled, Lagerfeld went on to fully understand and respect Chanel’s history whilst managing to propel the house into modernity. The interlocking ‘CC’ monograph was also reintroduced to Chanel under Lagerfeld, using it for both the logo and as a significant factor in the style pattern of Chanel.
“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.” Karl Lagerfeld speaking of Gabrielle Chanel
Lagerfeld’s presentations of his Chanel collections on the runway became as famous as the clothes themselves. From a space station rocket launch, to a Chanel grocery store built inside the Grand Palais, Chanel shows were always incredibly creative and beautiful under Lagerfeld, watched online by Chanel and fashion fans worldwide.
At Chanel, director of Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio Virginie Viard will oversee the creative direction of the house. As Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator over the past thirty years, she is a perfect fit to continue on with his vision.
Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
Much of Karl Lagerfeld’s work was inspired by his beautiful Birman pet cat, Choupette. Given to him as a gift by French model Baptiste Giabiconi in 2011, Choupette is a massive online personality with her own social media accounts (@Choupette’s Diary on Twitter) promoting her image and status. His favourite travel companion, Choupette has traveled the world with Lagerfeld and is just as pampered at home, having her own bodyguard and several maids. Particularly in his self-named designs, a cartoon version of Choupette features heavily as part of many of his collections, on bags, phone-cases and clothing.
Karl Lagerfeld: His Legacy Lives On
Karl Lagerfeld left a lasting footprint on the world of fashion. Imaginative, creative and innovative, he will forever be remembered as the man that helped to relaunch a luxury brand and in doing so, changed the world as fashion forever. Hardworking, talented and dedicated to his profession, his legacy will live on through the clothes he created and the brands he pushed to the forefront of the fashion world through his designs. Designer, photographer and fashion legend, our condolences go to his friends and family and we want to thank Karl so much for the memories; fashion won’t ever be the same without him.