5 years since the death of Karl Lagerfeld: remembering the fashion legend

Juliette Morgan
5 years since the death of Karl Lagerfeld: remembering the fashion legend

Karl Lagerfeld was and remains one of the most iconic figures in the fashion world. The fashion designer, who until his death led three fashion houses - Chanel, Fendi and the eponymous Karl Lagerfeld, passed away exactly five years ago, on February 19, 2019. Lagerfeld was called the “King of Fashion”, “King Karl” and “Fashionable Kaiser”, and he could not imagine life without his beloved work.

In honor of the fifth anniversary of Karl Lagerfeld's death, Spltnk tells his story - in photographs.

Family

Karl was born in the 1930s in Hamburg, in the family of prominent businessman Otto Lagerfeld, owner of a condensed milk factory. Throughout his life, the fashion designer named different dates of his birth: either 1933, then 1935, then 1938, blaming his mother for the confusion with the documents. During the war years, the future fashion designer lived with his parents either in an estate in Bad Bramstedt or in Hamburg. Karl had two sisters: Martha Christiana and Thea.

Career

In 1949, young Karl and his mother attended a Christian Dior show, which changed his life. Four years later, he went to Paris, where he entered school at the Syndicate of Haute Couture, but did not complete his studies. While studying, Lagerfeld won an award for his coat design in a fashion design competition organized by the International Wool Secretariat. There he first encountered his future friend and competitor not only in the fashion industry, but also in his personal life - Yves Saint Laurent, losing first place to him in the competition. The jury of the competition included Hubert Givenchy and Pierre Balmain, who noticed the promising Karl, inviting him to the position of his assistant, where he stayed for the next eight years.

Карл Лагерфельд на конкурсе модельеров, 1954 год
Карл Лагерфельд на конкурсе модельеров, 1954 год/Фото: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Карл Лагерфельд
Карл Лагерфельд/Фото: Кадр из фильма "Любовь"/Энди Уорхол

Three more years later, in 1965, Lagerfeld became the permanent chief designer of the Fendi fashion house, where he created collections of leather and fur clothing. A year later, Karl began a long-term collaboration with the Chloe brand, where he worked until the mid-1980s. In 1983, at about 50 years old, Lagerfeld became creative director of Chanel, with whom he would be associated for the rest of his life. At the same time, Karl founded his own brand, Karl Lagerfeld, which still produces clothes, shoes and accessories.

Карл Лагерфельд за кулисами показа Chanel осень-зима — 1984
Карл Лагерфельд за кулисами показа Chanel осень-зима — 1984/Фото: James Jackson/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Since the late 1980s, Karl has also found time to pursue photography. He often shot advertising campaigns for his brands himself, collaborated with fashion magazines and published several books with his photographs.

Карл Лагерфельд у своих фотографий на выставке One Man Shown, 2006 год
Карл Лагерфельд у своих фотографий на выставке One Man Shown, 2006 год/Фото: Andreas Rentz/Getty Images
Ванесса Паради
Ванесса Паради/Фото: Karl Lagerfeld
Наоми Кэмпбелл
Наоми Кэмпбелл/Фото: Karl Lagerfeld
Николь Кидман
Николь Кидман/Фото: Karl Lagerfeld
Батист Джиабикони
Батист Джиабикони/Фото: Karl Lagerfeld

In the nineties, Lagerfeld, like Gianni Versace, loved to “idolize” supermodels. He provided them with the best conditions during shows; over the years, Karl's shows were opened and closed by his favorite muses, including: Ines de la Fressange, Linda Evangelista, Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss and one of his favorites, Claudia Schiffer.

Клаудия Шиффер на показе Chanel весна-лето — 1993
Клаудия Шиффер на показе Chanel весна-лето — 1993/Фото: Condé Nast Archive

“If I had to start the Trojan War, Claudia would be my Helen,” Karl said of his favorite Schiffer, with whom he is said to have stopped working in 1994 after she accepted an offer to become the face of Fanta soda.

Линда Евангелиста на показе Chanel осень-зима — 1991
Линда Евангелиста на показе Chanel осень-зима — 1991/Фото: Condé Nast Archive
Карл Лагерфельд, Клаудия Шиффер, Синди Кроуфорд, Линда Евангелиста на показе Chanel весна-лето — 1996
Карл Лагерфельд, Клаудия Шиффер, Синди Кроуфорд, Линда Евангелиста на показе Chanel весна-лето — 1996/Фото: Conde Nast Archive
Наоми Кэмпбелл на показе Chanel весна-лето — 1994
Наоми Кэмпбелл на показе Chanel весна-лето — 1994/Фото: Condé Nast Archive
Кейт Мосс на показе Chanel осень-зима — 1994
Кейт Мосс на показе Chanel осень-зима — 1994/Фото: Condé Nast Archive
Ева Герцигова на показе Chanel весна-лето — 1996
Ева Герцигова на показе Chanel весна-лето — 1996/Фото: Condé Nast Archive
Дженнифер Энистон в бра Chanel на обложке Allure, декабрь 2022 года
Дженнифер Энистон в бра Chanel на обложке Allure, декабрь 2022 года/Фото: Allure
Кендалл Дженнер на показе Chanel осень-зима — 2015
Кендалл Дженнер на показе Chanel осень-зима — 2015/Фото: Yannis Viamos/Indigitalimages
Карл Лагерфельд на финале показа Chanel осень-зима — 2013
Карл Лагерфельд на финале показа Chanel осень-зима — 2013/Фото: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Показ Fendi на Великой Китайской стене, 2007 год
Показ Fendi на Великой Китайской стене, 2007 год/Фото: Lucas Dawson/Getty Images
Карл Лагерфельд и Сильвия Вентурини-Фенди на показе Fendi осень-зима — 2013
Карл Лагерфельд и Сильвия Вентурини-Фенди на показе Fendi осень-зима — 2013/Фото: Filippo Fior/ Gorunway
Карл Лагерфельд и Кара Делевинь на показе Chanel осень-зима — 2014
Карл Лагерфельд и Кара Делевинь на показе Chanel осень-зима — 2014/Фото: Francois Durand/Getty Images

In addition to leading three major fashion houses, Karl managed to create collaborations with other brands, such as Vans, H&M and Coca Cola. He also loved to read, and his personal library grew to more than 300 thousand books. Just as much as he loved work and reading, Lagerfeld loved his cat Choupette, who became for him not just a pet, but an inspiration and heir to the fashion designer.

Карл Лагерфельд с кошкой Шупетт
Карл Лагерфельд с кошкой Шупетт/Фото: Официальный сайт
Коллаборация Karl Lagerfeld x H&M
Коллаборация Karl Lagerfeld x H&M/Фото: Sean Gallup/Getty Images
Карл на презентации Coca-Cola Light & Karl Lagerfeld
Карл Лагерфельд на презентации Coca-Cola Light & Karl Lagerfeld/Фото: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Скрепбук Карла Лагерфельда
Скрепбук Карла Лагерфельда/Фото: Официальный сайт

Love

Lagerfeld never married and had no children. In 1971, he met Jacques de Bascher, who two years later began to communicate closely with Yves Saint Laurent, which put an end to the friendship of the main young designers of that time. Communication between Jacques and Yves ended quite quickly under pressure from Saint Laurent's companion Pierre Berger. In 1989, Jacques de Bocher died of AIDS. The last days before his death, Karl did not leave his bed. Since then, Lagerfeld has not entered into a serious relationship.

Карл Лагерфельд
Карл Лагерфельд/Фото: Madame Figaro China Cover
Карл Лагерфельд
Карл Лагерфельд/Фото: Официальный сайт

Care

In January 2019, at the Chanel couture collection show, Karl did not take a bow after the show for the first time, remaining backstage in a wheelchair. He could not allow himself to appear in front of the guests sitting down. Instead, his “right hand” and heiress of the fashion house, Virginie Viard, who had worked at Chanel since 1987, appeared at the finale. On February 19, 2019, the fashion world was shocked by the news that Karl Lagerfeld had died of pancreatic cancer.

At the beginning of March of the same year, at Paris Fashion Week, against the backdrop of an alpine snowy landscape, the first Chanel fall-winter 2019 show took place, which took place without Karl’s participation and was dedicated to his legacy. Everyone cried: both models and celebrity guests.

Церемония памяти Карла Лагерфельда в Париже, 20 июня 2019 года
Церемония памяти Карла Лагерфельда в Париже, 20 июня 2019 года/Фото: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images
Карл Лагерфельд и Виржини Виар на показе Chanel весна-лето — 2019
Карл Лагерфельд и Виржини Виар на показе Chanel весна-лето — 2019/Фото: Kim Weston Arnold/Indigital
Показ Chanel осень-зима — 2019
Показ Chanel осень-зима — 2019/Фото: Alessandro Lucioni/Gorunway

In 2023, the theme of the annual Met Gala, hosted by Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour, is the exhibition Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty. The stars used their images to show how they see Charles and his legacy. The most talked about outfits were Jared Leto's Choupette and Rihanna outfits.

Джаред Лето на Met Gala — 2023
Джаред Лето на Met Gala — 2023/Фото: Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images
Рианна и A$AP Rocky на Met Gala — 2023
Рианна и A$AP Rocky на Met Gala — 2023/ Фото: Theo Wargo/Getty Images

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