ACCLAIMED fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85 following a short illness.
Lagerfeld, creative director of French luxury brand Chanel since 1983, also oversaw fashion house Fendi and his own eponymous fashion label. He was regarded as one of the most important fashion visionaries of the 20th and 21st centuries.
The designer, known for regularly wearing sunglasses, a black suit and white shirt, with his grey hair pulled back into a ponytail, 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.
Lagerfeld’s death followed a period of ill-health according to French media reports, and shortly after he uncharacteristically missed the Chanel haute couture show in Paris in January.
Tributes poured in for Lagerfeld swiftly after the announcement of his death was made by fashion house Chanel, which praised him for being a ‘prolific creative mind with endless imagination’, and for reinventing the brand’s codes created by founder Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel.
Donatella Versace and Victoria Beckham were among the stars paying tribute to the German-born designer, 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.
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.’
Designer Marc Jacobs has also shared his sadness at the death of Lagerfeld, writing: ‘Waking up to a world without Karl. So sad. And strange. He was a great inspiration to me, and, undeniably a unique and extraordinary talent. RESPECT. Rest In Peace KL .’
Claudia Schiffer also paid tribute to Lagerfeld on Instagram, writing: ‘Karl was my magic dust, he transformed me from a shy German girl into a supermodel.
‘He taught me about fashion, style and survival in the fashion business. What Warhol was to art, he was to fashion; he is irreplaceable.
‘He is the only person who could make black and white colourful! I will be eternally grateful to him.’
Lagerfeld will be succeeded by Virginie Viard, Chanel’s fashion creation studio director.
Viard has been entrusted to continue the llegacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld’ at Chanel, having been Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years.
Following the news, Vogue US editor-in-chief Anna Wintour pulled out of attending Richard Quinn’s London Fashion Week show today.
Fendi’s next show is due to take place on Thursday during Milan Fashion Week.