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Fashion World Mourns The Loss Of Legendary Design Icon Karl Lagerfeld

Fashion icon and creative maestro Karl Lagerfeld has died aged 85.

What you need to know
  • One of the fashion industry's most respected figures, Karl Lagerfeld has died
  • He was best known for working with French fashion house Chanel, where he became creative director
  • Lagerfeld was known for breaking the mould, transforming Chanel into an exclusive fashion brand
  • Tributes have flooded in on social media from celebrities, designers, models and fashion lovers alike

The man with his signature white ponytail, fine suits, and sunglasses has died in Paris following a short illness.

Lagerfeld was the creative director of Chanel and Fendi and was one of the fashion industry's most respected figures, working up until his death.

He was born in 1933 in Hamburg, Germany and started working in the fashion industry at the age of 17, in 1954. Lagerfeld was best known for his association with France's Chanel, who he started working for in 1983.

Karl Langerfeld At Chanel
Lagerfeld's first year at Chanel in 1983. Image: Getty Images

The brand risked becoming the preserve of monied grannies before he arrived. Under his influence, hemlines were slashed, glitzy embellishments were liberally added to almost everything and tweet suits were introduced. He transformed Chanel into one of the world's most valuable couture houses.

"I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that," runs one legendary quote attributed to him, and often recycled to convey the person he liked to play.

"It is like a mask. And for me the Carnival of Venice lasts all year long."

Karl Langerfeld At Chane
Lagerfeld at the Fendi Paris Fashion Week show in 2017. Image: Getty Images.

His artistic instincts, business acumen and commensurate ego combined to commercially triumphant effect in the rarefied world of high fashion, where he was revered and feared in similar proportions by competitors and top-models.

A refusal to look to the past was one of his biggest assets, those who knew him said.

Lagerfeld also stood out as a craftsman. An accomplished photographer, he drew his own designs by hand, an increasingly rare phenomenon in fashion. Behind the facade, he was known for his erudition and penchant for literature, and he devoured the world's leading newspapers daily.

Karl Lagerfeld
Lagerfeld drew all his designs by hand. Image: Getty Images.

The designer was not afraid of breaking the mould within often-pompous couture circles. He teamed up with high street brand H&M in 2004 for limited edition collections, a move that raised eyebrows and was then quickly copied by others.

Known to adore Diet Coke, Lagerfeld said he shed weight in the early 2000s to fit into the razor-thin suits brought in by Christian Dior's then menswear designer Hedi Slimane.

Karl Lagerfeld
Billboard for Karl Lagerfeld for H&M in 2004. Image: Getty Images.

In rare moments when he was not working, Lagerfeld retired to one of his many homes in Paris, Germany, Italy or Monaco, all of them lavish carbon copies of 18th-century interiors.

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'The End Of An Era': Lagerfeld Remembered Around The World

Tributes from models, celebrities and fashion lovers alike have flooded social media remembering Lagerfeld for his unique style and iconic designs.

Fashion House Chanel called Lagerfeld "an extraordinary creative individual" in a statement announcing his death. Fendi thanked Lagerfeld "for the most beautiful journey".

Meanwhile, The House of Karl Lagerfeld expressed their sadness at his passing on Instgram saying, "He was one of the most influential and celebrated designers of the 21st century and an iconic, universal symbol of style".

Vogue Editor-in-Chief Anna Wintour released a statement via the Vogue website, calling Lagerfeld one of the most legendary designers of our time.

Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld
Anna Wintour and Karl Lagerfeld at the British Fashion Awards in 2015 Image: Getty Images.

“Today the world lost a giant among men. Karl was so much more than our greatest and most prolific designer--his creative genius was breathtaking and to be his friend was an exceptional gift. Karl was brilliant, he was wicked, he was funny, he was generous beyond measure, and he was deeply kind. I will miss him so very much," Wintour said.

Others shares photos and memories of the times they worked with Lagerfeld

Plans for Lagerfeld funeral have not been announced.

With AAP.

Featured Image: Getty Images.

Contact Siobhan at skenna@networkten.com.au