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A Tribute to Karl Lagerfeld

A creative, photographer, mentor and friend: the fashion industry mourns the passing of an icon.

Hair neatly pulled back, signature tipless gloves, jet-black sunglasses and that tailored-to-perfection black ensemble, a moment of pure silence ensues as we dwell on the passing of the fashion industry luminary, Karl Lagerfeld. With an age milestone – having reaching 85 – and a stretch of successes under his belt, including his most well-known role as the Creative head of Chanel, Fendi and the Karl Lagerfeld name, the work of this visionary can never be duplicated, only evolved. 

The Karl Lagerfeld Store in New York / GETTY IMAGES
Karl Sketching, 1983 / GETTY IMAGES

Lagerfeld took up the reins at Chanel from 1983 and has since been responsible for the fashion house's quintessential contemporary aesthetic that we are familiar with today. In a whirlwind of creative expression – with tailored tweed suits and plastic boots to ostentatious displays of 3D beadwork designs – Lagerfeld found comfort in the fact that he had a proclivity for breathtaking design. Fashion insiders who had the honour of attending a Chanel production under Lagerfeld's artistic direction were incredibly privileged. Imagine sitting front row at the S/S 2018 show called By The Sea or attending the Couture 2015 show, Chanel Casino? These were theatre productions made to ignite all the senses and take the viewer on a journey that went well beyond the clothes and accessories.

"What I do Coco would have hated. The label has an image and it's up to me to update it. I do what she never did. I had to go from what Chanel was to what it should be, could be, what it had been to something else."

Watch some of the most iconic videos by Chanel:

Still, in all his years at Chanel, Lagerfeld's longest run as Creative Director was at Italian fashion house, Fendi. A well-presented brand known for its sheer flair for fur and leather, his undeniably clear vision of the skill and craftsmanship needed to escalate the brand was developed within the very first decade of the brand's inception. Lagerfeld also continued his thread of the theatric fashion week productions with Fendi's 90th Anniversary show called Fendi Legends and Fairytales debuting at the Trevi Fountain, a historic landmark in Rome, Italy. 

See the Fendi Legends and Fairytales show here:

At the news of his passing yesterday, fans took to social media to pay their respects to the icon, reminiscing about his talent, ingenuity and eye for detail.

Lagerfeld and Wintour, 1993 / GETTY IMAGES

Lagerfeld and Campbell, 1997 / GETTY IMAGES

Lagerfeld with the five Fendi sisters, 1983 / GETTY IMAGES

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