By Pranshuta Arora (Team CB)

Karl Lagerfeld! The “Kaiser”, The “Genius” as he was fondly called by his fans. The German designer is known for his role as the Creative Director of Chanel, a French luxury fashion brand. He was an inventive designer. Apart from his eponymous label, the designer was the main creative strength behind some of the top brands like Chanel, Fendi and Tommy Hilfiger.

Born in Hamburg, Germany, the designer never really revealed his real birthday. However, according to reports, he was born in 1933. The designer gained fame due to his bold creations and constant reinvention. Vogue used to call him “An unparalleled interpreter of the mood of the moment”.

Karl Lagerfeld with Anna Wintour

First few years of his career

The 14 year old Lagerfeld sensed his inner calling and moved to Paris with his parents’ blessings. Having survived in Paris for 2 years, he submitted his sketches and a few fabric samples in a design competition.  He won the first position in “Coat category” and met another winner, Yves Saint Laurent who later became his close friend and his rival.

Karl Lagerfeld and Yves Saint Laurent

Soon he got a full-time job with the French designer “Pierre Balmain” as a junior assistant. Later he went on to become an apprentice. It was quite a demanding role and the young Karl worked with the brand for 3 years. He then took up the role of creative director in another fashion house before striking his own. Soon, he was designing collections for Fendi, Chloe, Krizia, Valentino, and the like. He was known for his up to date, innovative style. However, he always appreciated the past and he was often seen shopping from the flea markets looking old wedding gown to reinvent them in his own unique style.

Mr. Lagerfeld in 1954, after winning the coat category in a design competition in Paris

By 1980s, Karl had become an important personality in the fashion industry. He was the favourite of press, as he loved recording his changing personal and professional life.

Mr. Lagerfeld showing one of his ball gowns in 1979

He surely jumped from one label to the other, but created a success record which only a few designers could match.

International fame and his career with Chanel

In 1980, Chanel hired Lagerfeld when it was almost a dead brand. The time was extremely critical for the brand due to the death of the founder designer Coco Chanel a decade ago. He gave a new life to the brand with a reimagined day to wear clothing line. He also integrated the “CC” monograph into a stylish pattern for the brand.

BusiChic looks from the Chanel Spring 2013 RTW Collection designed by Karl Lagerfeld – featuring his LEGO-inspired clutch!

One year later, he started his own label “Karl Lagerfeld” with an aim of channelling “Intellectual sexiness”. With time, the brand built a reputation of high-quality tailoring inculcating bold designs and ready to wear line including cardigan jackets in vibrant shades. In 2005, Karl sold his label to Tommy Hilfiger.

BusiChic looks from the Fendi Spring 2013 RTW Collection designed by Karl Lagerfeld

In 2011, he also designed glassware range for Swedish brand “Orrefors” and also signed on for creating a new line for Macy’s.

BusiChic looks from the Karl Lagerfeld Spring 2013 RTW Collection

His unequalled contribution to fashion completely altered the way how women dressed and perceived fashion. He was an inspiration for the young designers.

A photographer

Karl was also an acclaimed photographer. His works of photography was exhibited at Pinacotheque de Paris which is a publisher. He launched his own imprint for the Steidl, Edition 7L and penned his popular diet book of 2002, “The Karl Lagerfedl Diet” abut how he lost 92 pounds.

A caricature

Karl was also a self-acclaimed caricature with his signature dark glasses, ponytail, fingerless gloves, black denim, Chrome Hearts jewellery, starched collars and an obsessive consumption of diet coke.

Global fame

His fame was such globally that when in 2014 a 200 dollars Karl Barbie was developed in collaboration with toy making giant “Mattel”, sold out within one hour.

The fashion industry has lost a gem. RIP Karl!

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