Iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died earlier on Tuesday (February 19, 2019), aged 85, in Paris following a short illness. The only sign of his declining health was his failure to take a bow at Chanel Spring/Summer Haute Couture Fashion Show in January, 2019. Virginie Viard, Director of Chanel’s Fashion Creation Studio and Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years, will take the reins. The fashion house confirmed the news in an Instagram post.
More than a designer, he was a fashion mastermind, adroit at all aspects of image-making and communications — and especially staging events. From a carnival carousel, to the Eiffel Tower, to a functioning rocket, a grocery store, and a beach — Karl always knew how to make our jaws drop each season with a spectacular set of design for a Chanel runway Show.
He started his career as an assistant to Pierre Balmain, in 1955, after winning
the coats category in the ‘International Wool Secretariat’ competition, and 3 years later in 1958, he designed haute couture for Balmain. Karl designed for Balmain for 5 years before moving onto a freelance designer at Chloé in 1964 and eventually designing full collections.
In 1983, Lagerfeld joined Chanel as an artistic director, and Viard was named as his studio director four years later in 1987.
Over several decades, the designer managed to balance his work for Chanel, Fendi – the Italian fur and leather goods fashion house, and even his own eponymous fashion label, which rarely approached the heights of the other brands he touched. With his signature white ponytail and black sunglasses worn day and night, Lagerfeld was recognized around the world.
Click through to see the best Chanel red carpet looks of all time.