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Karl Lagerfeld: The life of a design icon in pictures

Paris. February 2008. Karl LAGERFELD greets the press after the show.

Karl Lagerfeld had been at the creative helm of Chanel since 1983 and had been designing for Fendi since 1965. He also designed collections for his own brand.

Lagerfeld was born Karl Otto Lagerfeldt in pre-war Germany. He changed his name because he believed Lagerfeld sounded “more commercial”.

The designer emigrated to Paris as a teenager, and became a design assistant for Pierre Balmain.

Karl Lagerfeld on the phoneImage copyrightGETTY IMAGES
Image captionKarl Lagerfeld seen in around 1960, then the artistic director of the Jean Patou fashion brand
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Karl Lagerfeld fits one of his designs on top model Ines de la Fressange at Chloe's Paris studio.Image copyrightPIERRE VAUTHEY/SYGMA/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionLagerfeld fits one of his designs on top model Ines de la Fressange at Chloe’s Paris studio.
Karl Lagerfeld, artistic director of Chloé Paris, France.Image copyrightDANIEL SIMON/GAMMA-RAPHO/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionLagerfeld works on design sketches at Chloe’s Paris studio.
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He began his career with Chanel in 1983, a decade after Coco Chanel died. In 1984 he launched his own name label.

He cut a striking figure wearing a distinctive ensemble of crisp white, high-collared shirts with black tailored jacket and jeans, punctuated with a tie, shades, fingerless gloves and black boots.

As a designer he transformed the fortunes of Chanel, one of the leading names in high fashion.

Naomi Campbell models the S/S19 ready to wear collectionImage copyrightMICHEL ARNAUD/CORBIS/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionNaomi Campbell models the Chanel ready to wear collection
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Linda Evangelista walks the runway at the Chanel Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 1991-1992 fashion show during the Paris Fashion Week in March, 1991 in Paris, France.Image copyrightVICTOR VIRGILE/GAMMA-RAPHO/GETTY IMAGES
Image captionLinda Evangelista walks the runway at the Chanel Ready to Wear Fall/Winter 1991-1992 fashion show.
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In 2018 Chanel become the first luxury fashion house in the world to stop using exotic animal skins, like snake, crocodile, lizard and stingray.

“We did it because it’s in the air, but it’s not an air people imposed to us,” Mr Lagerfeld said. He argued “there was not much fur” in Chanel’s work to begin with.

German model Claudia Schiffer and English model Kate Moss though displayed fur creations designed by Karl Lagerfeld for the Fall-Winter ready-to-wear collection of Chanel in Paris.

German model Claudia Schiffer displays a creation designed by Karl Lagerfeld for the Fall-Winter ready-to-wear collection of Chanel on March 10, 1994 in Paris.Image copyrightAFP
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Lagerfeld also transformed the catwalk. For the Chanel AW14 show in Paris it became a high-end supermarket.

Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld and model Cara Delevingne appear at the end of the runway during the Chanel show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Fall/Winter 2014-2015 on March 4, 2014 in Paris, France.Image copyrightFRANCOIS DURAND/GETTY IMAGES

In 2016 Chanel staged its show in the Cuban capital Havana – the first international fashion show since the 1959 communist revolution, shown in the two images below.

World celebrities gathered at a leafy promenade that was turned into a catwalk for the firm’s Cruise collection, even though Chanel goods are not sold in Cuba.

Karl Lagerfeld head designer and creative director of fashion house Chanel, walks with a model after a fashion show of his latest inter-seasonal Cruise collection, at the Paseo del Prado street in Havana, Cuba.Image copyrightREUTERS
Models present creations by German designer Karl Lagerfeld as part of his latest inter-seasonal Cruise collection for fashion house Chanel at the Paseo del Prado street in Havana, Cuba, May 3, 2016.Image copyrightREUTERS

Celebrities – including actor Vin Diesel and supermodel Gisele Bundchen – attended the show at Havana’s Prado promenade to see Lagerfeld displaying the new collection.

Lagerfeld said the line was inspired by Cuba’s “cultural richness”.

Katy Perry, Karl Lagerfeld, Cara Delevingne and Claudia SchifferImage copyrightSHUTTERSTOCK
Image captionKaty Perry, Karl Lagerfeld, Cara Delevingne and Claudia Schiffer at the Chanel show, Fall Winter 2017, Haute Couture Fashion Week, in Paris
Lady Gaga and Karl LagerfeldImage copyrightSHUTTERSTOCK
Image captionLady Gaga and Karl Lagerfeld at the Celine show, Spring Summer 2019, Paris Fashion Week

The designer had been unwell for several weeks, and had missed a number of fashion shows.

German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel acknowledges the public at the end of his 2014 Spring/Summer ready-to-wear collection fashion show at the Grand Palais in Paris.

 

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