Published: Wed, February 20, 2019
Culture | By Jeremy Gray

Fashion world mourns death of Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld

Fashion world mourns death of Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld

The German, who was the creative director for the Chanel fashion house for over 30 years, did not take his customary bow at the end of Chanel's two runway shows at the Grand Palais in Paris last month, prompting speculation over his health.

"It is with deep sadness that the House of Chanel announces the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director for the Chanel Fashion House since 1983", Chanel said in a statement.

But Lagerfeld, who simultaneously churned out collections for LVMH's Fendi and his eponymous label - an unheard of feat in fashion - was nearly a brand in his own right. "Everything goes along smoothly because, above all, our studio is about teamwork", she told the French magazine Crash.

The designer made a much-reported-on appearance in Dubai in 2014 when Chanel staged its Cruise collection show in the city.

"Fashion and culture have lost a major inspiration".

The designer had been unwell for several weeks, and had missed a number of fashion shows.

Despite this, he was very kind to his staff at Chanel, generous with his time with journalists and shared his Parisian mansion with a Siamese cat called Choupette.

Chanel creative direct Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85.

They have gone from strength to strength since the couple rekindled their romance in spring previous year, following his split from Selena Gomez.

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An Oscar-winning pop star, a president, a fellow fashion icon - no-one was safe from Karl Lagerfeld's acidic assessments during his long career in fashion.

Lagerfeld himself said in 2015 that he "has never thought of retiring", and is understood to have carte blanche from Chanel's owners to choose when he wants to step down.

But Lagerfeld said she should not have been so flashy with her money.

Donatella Versace paid tribute to Lagerfeld on social media, confirming the awful news.

Lagerfeld worked tirelessly, simultaneously churning out collections for LVMH's Fendi and his own label, up until his death. But the swift succession announcement suggests that Chanel may follow the model of Alexander McQueen, where McQueen's closest colleague, Sarah Burton, took the creative reigns when he died in 2010 and has kept his legacy alive in her own inimitable way.

The prolific German had left many younger creators in the dust well into his 80s, turning out collections season after season for Fendi and his own label, as well as Chanel - the world's richest brand.

He never ceased to shake up the storied house, sending out a logo-emblazoned bikini so small that the top looked like pasties on a string and another collection that dispensed entirely with bottoms, with the models wearing little jackets over opaque tights instead.

"Like him, I came from Germany to learn in Paris", she said.

Of course, his curated image took a while to develop - and early images of Lagerfeld often show him sans opaque shades.

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