Legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld died on Tuesday in Paris. He was 85.
Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg, Germany in 1933 to businessman Otto Lagerfeld and his wife Elizabeth Bahlmann, a lingerie saleswoman.
In 1955 Lagerfeld won a coats design competition and was hired as Pierre Balmain’s assistant for three years before working at the House of Patou. After a freelance stint at Chloe, Lagerfeld became the creative director of Fendi in 1965. He was appointed the creative director of Chanel in 1983.
Lagerfeld was praised for modernizing Chanel with updated touches such as the “CC” monogram, which was incorporated into the House of Chanel in the 1980s.
In 2004, he became the first high-end designer to collaborate with H&M which paved the way for other H&M collaborations such as Stella McCartney and Versace. He launched his own collection, K Karl Lagerfeld, in 2006.
The designer formulated his own signature look of dark suits, a low ponytail, black sunglasses
Lagerfeld was also known for his quick-witted statements on fashion and life. He famously once said: “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”
Lagerfeld was in a long-term relationship with socialite Jacques de Bascher from the early 1970s until Bascher’s death in 1989 due to AIDS-related complications.
Later in life he would make some controversial statements about gay marriage and gay parenting. In 2010 he said he was against gay marriage.
“I’m against it for a very simple reason: In the 60s they all said we had the right to the difference. And now, suddenly, they want a bourgeois life,”
On gay parenting, Lagerfeld said: “For me it’s difficult to imagine—one of the papas at work and the other at home with the baby. How would that be for the baby? I don’t know. I see more lesbians married with babies than I see boys married with babies. And I also believe more in the relationship between mother and child than in that between father and child… If I were interested in children, I would be a godfather—or a godmother. I don’t like the idea of taking people out of their lives and their contexts. If there were a child I wanted to adopt, I would try to find the family of the child and give them the money for an education in his life and his context.”
Lagerfeld is survived by his seven-year-old Birman cat, Choupette, who has more than 100,000 followers on Instagram.
View this post on Instagram
“Currently, (Daddy) Lagerfeld seems happiest in the company of his six-year-old, white-coated Birman cat, Choupette, a “divine,” pampered creature whom the designer wishes, he has said, he could marry.” – @vfvanities 😽 Read the full @vanityfair article via #vfvanities bio link dahhhlings!
Celebrities mourned Lagerfield with plenty of heartfelt tribute posts including from Donatella Versace and Victoria Beckham.
View this post on Instagram
Nothing feels right today..at a loss for words and so heartbroken by the loss of Karl. His humor, wit , love and passion for fashion will live on forever. Thank you for the inspiration that you gave to this world and for all of the hearts that you touched in the process. Every time I saw you it felt like the first time & I will miss your hugs so much. I feel so lucky to have been in your presence. Sending my love to the Lagerfeld family and to all closest to him. I am so sorry. We all love you so much .💔 there are so many things I wish I could say to you but for now I will say goodbye… Rest In Peace KL❤️
His position will be succeeded by Virginie Viard, director of Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio.