Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Photo Credit: Giovanni Giannoni / WWD

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.

Chanel SS19 RTW Collection - Paris FW
Chanel Spring/Summer 2019 Ready-to-wear Fashion Show in Paris.

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.

Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Sarah Jessica Parker at the 2003 Emmys.
Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Nicole Kidman at the Cannes premiere of Venus in Fur in 2013.
Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Diane Kruger at the Chanel Little Black Jacket event in 2013.
Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Elle Fanning at Cannes in 2016.
Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Kirsten Dunst at the 2011 Cannes closing ceremony.
Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Nicole Kidman at the Academy Awards in 2004.
Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Cate Blanchett at the 2007 Golden Globes.
Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Marion Cotillard at the Cannes premiere of Sink Or Swim (Le Grand Bain) in 2018.
Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Blake Lively at the Cannes premiere of Mr. Turner in 2014
Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Penelope Cruz at the Cannes premiere of Everybody Knows in 2018.
Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Kristen Stewart at the New York premiere of Personal Shopper in 2017.
Chanel Best Red Carpet Looks - Karl Lagerfeld - Major Mag
Blake Lively at the 2011 Met Gala.

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