A Tribute to Karl Lagerfeld
Every year has its losses, yet this one seems heavier for me than most. A quick glance at my morning notifications on February 19th struck me with the loss of one of the biggest icons in fashion and in my life: Karl Lagerfeld.
The ever-present ponytail, the sunglasses, the fingerless gloves, a facade far too recognizable. A creator in the purest sense of the word, Lagerfeld created an empire of his own while carrying out the vision of Gabrielle Chanel to the highest echelon known to fashion.
Born in Hamburg, Germany in 1933, Karl Lagerfeld always embodied that unapologetic demeanor that he came to be idolized for in the fashion industry. An artistic German boy who previously donned the last name Lagerfeldt, before dropping the “t” for a more commercial field, he was known to often publicly critique other’s fashion choices at quite a young age.
To say his genius was unbridled is an understatement. Karl took to Paris early in his youth to study. His studies were not fashion-based, though his desire to major in history was quickly and unsurprisingly dominated by his major in drawing. Lagerfeld would soon enter the fashion scene as an apprentice to Pierre Balmain after his coat designs won a fashion competition.
His fashion career quickly skyrocketed through his work with Chloe and Valentino, and his breakthrough innovation of Fendi’s fur line. He then worked to revitalize Chanel, bringing to life the brand’s now iconic CC monogram. Lagerfeld remained with Fendi and Chanel until his death, in addition to establishing his own namesake brand: Karl Lagerfeld Paris. His prolific collections were brazen takes on what the fashion world needed at any given time. A personal favorite was his homage to his pet cat, Choupette.
Lagerfeld was a magnet of attention, constantly reinventing trends and garments while always maintaining an unbelievably forward yet classy persona. Insisting on sketching with shu uemera eyeshadows only, Lagerfeld established a true name for himself in fashion. As his inspiration, Lagerfeld often cited muses like Kate Moss, Willow Smith, Cara Delevigne, Tilda Swinton, and G-Dragon.
The loss of Karl Lagerfeld will be forever felt in the fashion world and beyond. His influence in this dynamic world, however, will always remain and his sense of style always celebrated.
"Today the world lost a giant among men. His creative genius was breathtaking and to be his friend was an exceptional gift. Karl was brilliant, he was wicked, he was funny, he was generous beyond measure, and he was deeply kind. I will miss him so very much."
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