On February 19, the entire world mourned as it lost the quintessential couturier Karl Lagerfeld, who’s six-decade long career unprecedentedly impacted people beyond the fashion industry. As he took his last breath in Paris, love and admiration effused excessively from all directions.
Lagerfeld, especially known for his couture at Chanel and Fendi, substantially spent his entire career at luxury labels, including Chloe. However, he quickly spread his wings to the low-end retailers, dispersing his designs beyond brands, and gained global influence in no time.
Born in Germany; the designer has largely remained an evasive figure surrounded with enigma, despite being in the public eye for most of his life. Although he loved being in the spotlight, Lagerfeld was also careful to obscure his real life. He had told French Vogue, “It’s not that I lie, it’s that I don’t owe the truth to anyone.”
Such has been the case in his age as well, which remained a mystery for decades. As per the reports, Lagerfeld owned two birth certificates – one dated 1933 and the other 1938.
However, later in 2013, the designer himself told the French magazine “Paris Match” that his birthdate is of September 1935. According to which, he died at the age of 83. His assistant told the Associated Press that he liked “to scramble the tracks on his year of birth — that’s part of the character”.
Lagerfeld’s death was confirmed by Chanel, which praised his hard work and contribution to the brand. It said, “An extraordinary creative individual, 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 jewelry.”
The CEO of the brand, Alain Wertheimer regarded him as an “exceptional intuition” who was ahead of his time and contributed immensely to the global success of Chanel.
“Today, not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind to whom I gave carte blanche in the early 1980s to reinvent the brand,” he said.
Former supermodel Claudia Schiffer credited the veteran as her mentor and called him her “magic dust”.
“What (Andy) Warhol was to art, he was to fashion; he is irreplaceable,” she added.
First Lady Melania Trump also paid tribute via Twitter, calling him a “creative genius”.
With his trademark style of a white ponytail, high starched collar and dark glasses, Lagerfeld deliberately managed to hide what went behind all that. “I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that,” he had once said at British Vogue, adding, “It is like a mask. And for me the Carnival of Venice lasts all year long.”
Although Lagerfeld had majorly remained an iconic figure in the fashion industry, he has widely impacted people across the world. Even those who are not ardent fashion followers grieved over the death of the legendary designer. Lagerfeld’s loss will certainly be one the greatest this year for the industry.