In loving memory of Karl Lagerfeld

On the 19th of February, 2019, the world lost yet another fashion legend. Just last year, we bade goodbye to designers Kate Spade (December 24, 1962 – June 5, 2018) and Hubert de Givenchy (20 February 1927 – 10 March 2018). Karl Lagerfeld died at the age of 85 at American Hospital of Paris, Neuilly-sur-Seine, France from complications of pancreatic cancer. It was a dark day for the world of fashion.

Karl Lagerfeld’s career started when he entered a coat design competition and won the coat category. Soon after, he worked as Pierre Balmain’s assistant and later, as his apprentice. After three short years, he became the artistic director for French fashion designer, Jean Patou, in 1958. In 1967, he started working with Fendi, with whom he remained till his last days.

In the 1980s, Karl was hired by Chanel, which was not well-established at the time after the death of Coco Chanel. Lagerfeld breathed life into the brand with his designs and his brilliance. He even integrated the “CC” logo of Coco Chanel into a style pattern for the House of Chanel.

In 1984, he created his very own brand: Karl Lagerfeld. And the rest, as they say, is history. Everyone got to know his name.

The Chanel creative director was known for his signature look: powdered white pony tail, high-collared white shirts and black sunglasses. In his interview with Marie Claire, the German-born designer said, “When I was very young, I got a glass of whiskey in my face by accident. It was not even meant for me, but if I had been without my glasses I would have lost an eye. So, I never go out without my trademark dark glasses.” Be it wayfarer-style shades or aviator-shaped goggles, he was hardly ever seen without a pair of his iconic dark sunglasses. Even on the rare occasions that he didn’t don a pair of sunglasses, he wore eyeglasses.

He was loved, and still is, by many celebrities, and many mourned his death. Vogue’s editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour, wrote, “Karl Lagerfeld was a standard unto himself. He defined what it means to be a 21st-century designer, and he did it with humor and joy. It’s doubly painful to have lost him because he never fell out of love with his work or with the world, and his death marks the end of the era of craftspeople who could do it all. Karl was the living soul of fashion: restless, forward-looking, and voraciously attentive to our changing culture. He recognized earlier than most that ready-to-wear wasn’t just couture-lite but the vibrant center of the new, accomplished woman’s lifestyle. And at a time when his peers were seeking shelter in fashion houses, he branched out alone as perhaps the world’s most dazzling freelancer, designing multiple labels with electric energy. I’ve joked that Karl was a one-man superbrand, as distinctive as the Chanel suit he imbued with a second life. To me, however, he was something more. Through decades of adventures and misadventures, he was a true and loyal friend.”

But as the saying ‘heroes get remembered, but legends never die’ goes, his legacy lives on. Chanel’s Autumn/Winter 2019 collection at the Paris Fashion Week showcased Karl’s final collection as a tribute to him at the Grand Palais. The show opened with one minute of silence. Celebrities like Penelope Cruz, Cara Delevingne and Kaia Garber walked the snow-covered runway with tears in their eyes. It was a bittersweet moment for all.

In the wake of Lagerfeld’s death, Chanel announced Virginie Viard as Karl Lagerfeld’s successor.

Karl Lagerfeld was a bold and artistic designer with a dynamic personality. He will remain in our hearts for a very long time.

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