Chanel artistic director and iconic fashion industry legend Karl Lagerfeld has passed away at the age of 85, after suffering some ill health in recent months. The renowned designer joined Chanel in 1983, instantly making an impact for both his persona, for which his own black-suit, sunglasses and white ponytail aesthetic was legendary, and extraordinary fashion sensibilities. In this role, and in other fashion appointments for Fendi and his own self-titled label, he changed the face of fashion as we know it today.
“Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of CHANEL’s success throughout the world,” said Alain Wertheimer, CEO of CHANEL in an Instagram post sent to the brand’s 33 million followers. “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.”
“Fashion show after fashion show, collection after collection, Karl Lagerfeld left his mark on the legend of Gabrielle Chanel and the history of the House of CHANEL,” Bruno Pavlovsky, President of Fashion at CHANEL, said in the same post. “He steadfastly promoted the talent and expertise of CHANEL’s ateliers and Métiers d’Art, allowing this exceptional know-how to shine throughout the world. The greatest tribute we can pay today is to continue to follow the path he traced by – to quote Karl – ‘continuing to embrace the present and invent the future’.”
Virginie Viard, Director of CHANEL’s Fashion Creation Studio and a close collaborator of Karl Lagerfeld has now stepped into his role to continue the enormous legacy of the fashion house.
Karl made waves across the hair and beauty industries as well. In 2014 he famously collaborated with Shu Uemera for a must-have beauty collection based on his equally iconic cat Choupette (who has been rumoured as the named recipient of a cast amount of his fashion-led fortune), and his runway collaboration presented the peak of hair, fashion and beauty for Chanel.
His death has been mourned by celebrities and muses across the globe, from Kim Kardashion, to Gigi and Behlla Hadid, Miley Cyrus, Naomi Campbell, Rihanna, Cindy Crawford, Kendall Jenner, Victoria Beckham, Diane Kruger and so many others, all of whom posted tributes on social media to a man who shaped the industry.
His enormous industry legacy will continue to live on in his work and witty, bold and sometimes controversial persona. Rest in peace to a true icon of our times.
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