September 10,1933 – Karl Lagerfeld:
“Trendy is the Last Stage Before Tacky.”
Fashion Icon Karl Lagerfeld was taken by cancer in 2019 at 85 years old. Rumors about Lagerfeld’s failing health had been circulating for several weeks after he failed to appear at the end of the spring-summer couture shows in Paris for the first time. At the time, his assistants said he was “too tired” to attend.
His death brought an end to a remarkable 64-year career creating clothes for the world’s most famous women. It all started in 1955 when he was hired as an assistant to Pierre Balmain. Just three years later, he was named Jean Patou‘s art director. Then, in 1965, he would begin a collaboration that was last to the end of his life, with Italian fashion house Fendi.
He has been creative director at Chanel since 1985.
He dressed Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Princess Diana.
Lagerfeld was well known for entertaining at his lavish apartment on the Paris’s Left Bank, which he shared with his partner Jacques de Bascher, until Bascher was taken by HIV/AIDS in 1989.
Lagerfeld loved his cat “Coupette”, and in 2013 he told the press that he would gladly marry Coupette if it were legal. The cat was a gift from French model Baptiste Giabiconi in 2011, and it has its own Twitter and Instagram pages, with a following of 250,000.
Lagerfeld was born to an affluent family in Hamburg in 1933 and fell in love with fashion when he accompanied his mother to a Christian Dior show in 1949.
In 1954 he won first prize in the coat category in a competition run by the International Wool Secretariat. The best dress award in the same contest went to a teenage Yves Saint-Laurent, sparking a lifelong rivalry.
Over the next six decades he worked for many of the world’s most prestigious design houses including Chloe, and also designed for H&M, plus his own brand.
Except for maybe the 45th president of The United States of America, Lagerfeld had the reputation for saying the most outrageous things. In an interview with the French fashion magazine Numéro, the white-haired, short-fingered-glove wearing designer gave an interview in which he called models “stupid,” “toxic,” and “sordid creatures.” Then when he was asked about the #MeToo movement and whether it had affected the way he works with models as a designer who often does his own photography, Lagerfeld said:
“Absolutely not. I read somewhere that now you must ask a model if she is comfortable with posing. It’s simply too much, from now on, as a designer, you can’t do anything. That said, I cannot stand Mr. Harvey Weinstein, not exactly what you might call a man of his word.”
Lagerfeld gave an interview to French newspaper Le Point in spring 2017 saying he was considering renouncing his German citizenship because of the one million Muslim immigrants that Chancellor Angela Merkel, had accepted into Germany.
Sort of like the 45th president of the United States, Lagerfeld had been saying outrageous things for so long, so regularly, that it is almost expected; he was a provocateur; it was his brand. But it didn’t seem that he thought any of it should be particularly memorable in the end. Two months before his death, he said he was uninterested in writing his memoirs. Lagerfeld:
“I have nothing to say. I’m actually trying to make sure that I won’t be remembered.”