We can’t believe the sad news regarding Karl Lagerfeld’s passing today at the age of 85. The ponytailed powerhouse was a man we thought would live forever as he’s been a huge staple to the fashion world for decades. He’s been working for major fashion brands before anybody in our office was born.
Karl Lagerfeld is undeniably one of the most incomparable talents of the fashion industry and he has garnered adulation from fashion lovers all around. So let’s take a look back at some of the great moments of Karl’s career.
Karl has has been the creative director at Chanel since 1983 and from there, he became a global sensation. But he hasn't just worked at Chanel, he was also the creative director at Fendi and he started working as Pierre Balmain’s assistant after winning a design competition in the coats category at the International Wool Secretariat in 1955.
I’m sure most of you will recognise the brilliant runway show Karl designed for Fendi where the models walked on an invisible catwalk over the Trevi Fountain. Karl and Fendi worked on the restoration of the Trevi Fountain and they held the Couture AW16/17 show there to commemorate Fendi’s 90th anniversary.
But for most people, he will be fondly remembered for his incredible work at Chanel. Over the decades, Karl put on some truly mesmerising shows where the sky was the limit and budget was never a worry.
Our 5 Favourite Chanel Shows
Karl’s monumental success at Chanel became a constant world of pure whimsey and fairytale like storytelling. Every show had a beautiful theme, props, set builds and a point of view like no other. Karl didn’t just show the clothes, he gave them a narrative and a life.
Chanel Airways – Ready-To-Wear Spring 2016
Karl transformed the Grand Palais in Paris into the classiest airport terminal in existence. The models looked incredibly chic with their Channel suitcases and some lucky guests even got to be a part of the show by sitting on airport benches right at the heart of the action.
The Street Protest – Spring/Summer 2015
Fashion isn’t just about clothing, it can be a statement of the times. Lagerfeld, being as clued up on government as he is on gowns, threw a female liberation protest during the finale of Chanel’s SS15 show and it certainly grabbed the attention of all.
The Green House – Couture Spring 2016
Serenity isn’t usually a word we use to describe one of Karl’s shows. But guests wandered into a zen-like paradise for the Couture Spring 2016 show. The Grand Palais was filled with blue skies, green grass and a beautiful modernist wooden eco-house.
“I think it’s the first couture collection done in the ecological approach. It’s fun to do this after being high-tech,”
The Post-Apocalyptic Theatre – Couture Autumn/Winter 2013
Once again, the Grand Palais was transformed beyond all recognition thanks to this gargantuan abandoned theatre set up with crumbling ceilings, loose brickwork and a dusty atmosphere. This was the future – and it didn’t look bright, but boy did it looks fascinating!
Chanel Shopping Centre – Autumn / Winter 2014
You don’t often see women wearing designer garments to the supermarket, but in Lagerfeld’s world – that’s all they wear. Karl created a giant fake supermarket where the models would walk around with shopping carts picking up Chanel branded groceries. Everything from cheeses, bottles of wine, onions and canned goods were all given a Chanel makeover. The show was so iconic and well received that after the show, the entire audience wandered around the supermarket picking up Chanel-emblazoned goods for themselves only to be told that every item in the ‘store’ was not for grabs as they were being used for the window displays around the world.
Other incredible moments
In later years, Karl’s famous cat, Choupette, became the star with him using the fashionable feline in campaigns and as the inspiration for accessories. Choupette is so well-known in the fashion world now that her Instagram account boats over 100,000 followers!
Karl is also a budding photographer, though most people see him in front of the camera, he finds joy being behind it, capturing some of the most gorgeous photographs.
The world has truly lost one of the greatest gifts to fashion that the world has ever seen. Bravo for all your work and as an avid fan, we’d like to say thank you. To have existed at the same time as this legend was a true honour and a privilege.