Karl Lagerfeld dies: Designer remembered as ‘one of the greatest in history’

Karl Lagerfeld has been described as “one of the greatest designers in the history of fashion” following his death.

The creative director of Chanel died on Tuesday at the age of 85, the fashion house said.

The designer was praised by the French brand for being a “prolific creative mind with endless imagination”, and for reinventing the brand’s codes created by founder Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.

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Alain Wertheimer, CEO of Chanel, said: “Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of Chanel’s success throughout the world.

“Today, not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind to whom I gave carte blanche in the early 1980s to reinvent the brand.”

Edward Enninful, editor-in-chief of British Vogue, said in a statement: “I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Karl Lagerfeld.

“He has exerted an incredible influence over the fashion industry over the past six decades, and it goes without saying that the world has lost one of the greatest designers in the history of fashion. But it has also lost one of its greatest teachers.”

Lagerfeld died after a period of ill-health, according to French media reports.

His death came after he missed the Chanel haute couture show in Paris in January.

The acclaimed German fashion designer had been at Chanel since 1983.

Lagerfeld was also the creative director of LVMH-owned Italian fur and leather goods fashion house Fendi, as well as his eponymous fashion label, which he opened in 1984.

A post on the official Instagram account for Karl Lagerfeld’s label shared the news of his death “with deep emotion and sadness”.

The message said: “He was one of the most influential and celebrated designers of the 21st century and an iconic, universal symbol of style. Driven by a phenomenal sense of creativity, Karl was passionate, powerful and intensely curious.

“He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the greatest designers of our time, and there are no words to express how much he will be missed.”

Donatella Versace and Victoria Beckham were among the stars paying tribute to Lagerfeld, with Versace saying that his “genius touched the lives of so many, especially Gianni and I”.

“We will never forget your incredible talent and endless inspiration. We were always learning from you,” she added.

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Singer-turned-designer Beckham posted on Instagram: “So incredibly sad to hear this. Karl was a genius and always so kind and generous to me both personally and professionally. RIP x vb.”

Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, said that “we have lost a creative genius who helped to make Paris the fashion capital of the world and Fendi one of the most innovative Italian houses”.

Mr Arnault said that they “owe him a great deal” and that “his taste and talent were the most exceptional I have ever known”.

He added: “I will always remember his immense imagination, his ability to conceive new trends for every season, his inexhaustible energy, the virtuosity of his drawings, his carefully guarded independence, his encyclopaedic culture, and his unique wit and eloquence.

“The death of this dear friend deeply saddens me, my wife and my children. We loved and admired him deeply. Fashion and culture has lost a great inspiration.”

Lagerfeld had also worked for Chloe and H&M, and was an acclaimed photographer, having gone behind the lens for a number of high fashion magazines and for his own fashion campaigns.

Karl Lagerfeld death
Karl Lagerfeld death

Regarded as one of the most important fashion visionaries of the 20th and 21st centuries, he was known for regularly wearing sunglasses and a black suit with a white shirt, and with his white hair pulled back into a ponytail.

Lagerfeld will be succeeded by Virginie Viard, Chanel’s fashion creation studio director.

Viard has been entrusted to continue the “legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld” at Chanel, having been Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years.

Following Lagerfeld’s death, Vogue US editor-in-chief Anna Wintour pulled out of attending Richard Quinn’s London Fashion Week show on Tuesday.

Fendi’s next show is due to take place on Thursday during Milan Fashion Week.