The fashion world mourns yet another icon as House of Chanel announced Karl Lagerfeld's passing at age 85 on 19 February 2019 due to poor health. Lagerfeld, dubbed as the Father of Fashion, served major contributions in haute couture. He left a legacy of redefining the industry's artistry for his work behind fashion houses like Balmain, Chanel, Fendi and, of course, his eponymous label. His impeccable style is also to be missed; his signature powdered ponytail, black sunglasses and sharp collars a silhouette to be remembered throughout fashion history.
So as a nod to this creative genius' life and legacy, let's look back at some of Karl Lagerfeld's most notable moments as one of the fashion industry's most famed names.
He proved that fashion and beauty can both be aspirational and affordable
The labels associated with Lagerfeld's creative prowess are known to come with a hefty price tag, but what became their selling point is the strategy to offer cheaper items alongside luxury ones. This strategy is something heavily credited to Lagerfeld's doing. A great example would be the iconic Chanel No.5 perfume that delivers the same elegance and prime status as a suit under the same label, just with a more accessible number of zeroes on its tag. Not every brand has succeeded in balancing both aspirational fashion and affordable luxury under their wing, but Lagerfeld made the formula work and succeed.
He transformed what 'runway' is all about
A master of awe-inspiring productions when it comes to runway shows, Lagerfeld changed the landscape of how catwalks should be done by treating it like a movie set or a music video shoot. Some of his most memorable works include transforming the Grand Palais in Paris into a supermarket (who could have imagined that a supermarket could be so high-fashion?), a beach, a rocket ship and even incorporated waterfalls and icebergs into some of his shows. Needless to say, his productions are nothing short of incredible and mind-blowing. His innovative take on bridal dresses, tweed suits and eccentrically chic pieces are also undeniably for the books. This is why his final bows at the end of his shows became as anticipated as the pieces walking through the catwalk and why it made it into the headlines when he was unable to take one at the display of his last collection.
He is just as iconic as his creations
We already mentioned his signature look that transformed into one of fashion's most recognisable silhouettes. His pompadour hairstyle and fingerless gloves became a part of his persona as a creative, which only added to the eccentric veil he put on himself. (He created a blurry and mysterious narrative surrounding his own birthdate and family history.) And while it may have been peculiar, no one dared make fun of him for it. He was regarded as an undeniable genius that innovated every fabric, runway and label he touched. While his creations are truly memorable, the look that he created for himself surely makes the top of the list as one, if not the best, of his creative decisions.
He's not just a gifted designer but was also well-versed in many other facets of art
A voracious reader who spoke four languages, Lagerfeld's Boulevard Saint-Germain apartment has its own library, which is said to have at least 300,000 titles. He has also authored more than 20 books, some of which feature his own photography. Lagerfeld was also known for quoting poetry in the middle of conversations and was known to create marvellous sketches whether using traditional tools or digitally through an iPad. He also contributed to the film industry not just as a designer and wardrobe lead but also as a director and actor, with almost 200 credits under his name, according to his IMDB page.
Celebrities and fellow fashion designers paid tribute to the Father of Fashion on social media as soon as the news broke, most thanking him for his contributions in the industry. Chanel muse Diane Kruger said, "I will never forget your kindness towards me, your laughs, your imagination." Meanwhile, Donatella Versace wrote, "Karl your genius touched the lives of so many, especially Gianni and I. We will never forget your incredible talent and endless inspiration. We were always learning from you."
The official Instagram accounts of Dior, Marc Jacobs, Stella McCartney and more fashion houses also expressed their final salutes to the esteemed creative lead. On Chanel's official post, Virginie Viard, director of Chanel's Fashion Creation Studio and a close collaborator of Lagerfeld for 30 years, was announced to take over the French fashion house.
On a final note, from us who have admired, aspired and been taken by Lagerfeld's creations, we give one last salute to this fashion master who has already taken his most final bow but not without leaving a permanent and significant mark that would last a hundredfold of his lifetime.
(Cover photo from: @chanelofficial)