Remembering Karl Lagerfeld

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Caryn Miller, Contributing Writer

Fashion icon Karl Otto Lagerfeld passed away on February 19 in Paris. He is said to have died from a short illness he was battling. BBC News reported rumors of Lagerfeld’s health having spiraled for weeks after he missed multiple events like Chanel’s spring/summer show in January. He was 85.

Karl Lagerfeld was known as the creative director for French private fashion company Chanel, Italian luxury fashion house Fendi and his own brand, Karl Lagerfeld. In addition, Lagerfeld was a fashion designer, photographer and writer.

CNN remembered him as one of the most influential and recognizable designers of the 20th century, particularly for his signature ponytail and dark sunglasses.

With the help of Lagerfeld, Paris became the fashion capital of the world.

Born to the name Karl Lagerfeldt in Hamburg, Germany, he changed his name to Lagerfeld to sound “more commercial.” At a young age, Lagerfeld took an interest in fashion and entered into the International Wool Secretariat, a design competition, after moving to Paris at the age of 14.

This gave him opportunities to work as a junior assistant and then as an apprentice for French designer Pierre Balmain.

Gaining this experience in the industry, Lagerfeld was able to begin designing collections for Chloé and Fendi.

Lagerfeld joined Chanel in 1978, where he brought the brand back to life with a new ready-to-wear fashion line. The House of Chanel has Lagerfeld to thank for the interlocking “CC” logo representing Coco Chanel.

In 1983, he became the brand’s creative director. However, Lagerfeld was originally not welcomed with open arms to Chanel. The company thought he was being rebellious by ignoring the eras Chanel came up with and instead choosing to go with his instincts and what he thought the company needed.

But Lagerfeld knew Chanel needed to become more modern, so he stuck with it.

Around this same time, Lagerfeld created his own label focused around what he called “intellectual sexiness.” Lagerfeld’s brand combines Parisian-inspired styles with a rock-chic simplicity for men’s and women’s ready-to-wear clothing and accessories.

The online store, KARL.COM, reaches 96 countries with key locations in Paris, New York, Moscow, London, Dubai and Shanghai.

One of Lagerfeld’s prize possessions was his Birman breed cat Choupette. Commonly referred to as Lagerfeld’s heiress, she is expected to inherit some of the designer’s estimated $200 million fortune.

Choupette’s inheritance will add to her own fortune of the $3 million she has made in modeling jobs. With her owner’s passing, she is still sure to continue living her “lavish lifestyle.”

After hearing the news of Lagerfeld’s death, many celebrities posted their personal memories with the designer on social media, including Kim Kardashian, Rihanna, Pharrell and First Lady Melania Trump.

Donatella Versace posted a photo on Instagram and wrote for her dear friend, “Karl your genius touched the lives of so many, especially Gianni and I. We will never forget your incredible talent and endless inspiration.”

Anna Wintour, the editor-in-chief of Vogue, said in an article, “today the world lost a giant among men.”

Karl Lagerfeld will be missed, but his legacy will continue and inspire others.