Karl Lagerfeld has passed away aged 85 in Paris, the House of Chanel has confirmed.
The designer is said to have been working hard close up until his death, even giving his team instructions relating to the Fendi autumn/winter 2019 show, which is due to take place during Milan Fashion Week this Thursday.
Lagerfeld is one of the most prolific and celebrated fashion designers of all time and has headed up some of the biggest fashion houses in the world, including Fendi, Chanel and his own namesake label, all three of which he acted as creative director for until his death today. Chanel confirmed that Virginie Viard, Chanel studio director and Lagerfeld’s right-hand woman, would be succeeding the designer as creative director.
“Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of Chanel’s success throughout the world,” Chanel’s CEO, Alain Wertheimer, said in a statement. “Today, not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind to whom I gave carte blanche in the early 1980s to reinvent the brand.”
The designer had not revealed any details of ill health, however, he did not take his usual bow at the end of the Chanel couture show last month. The house later released a statement explaining that Lagerfeld was too tired to attend the show on that particular occasion.
Lagerfeld began his career in fashion in 1955 as an assistant to Pierre Balmain. He joined Chanel in 1983 and spent 36 years at the helm of the iconic French fashion house.
“Fashion show after fashion show, collection after collection, Karl Lagerfeld left his mark on the legend of Gabrielle Chanel and the history of the House of Chanel,” Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel, said today. “He steadfastly promoted the talent and expertise of Chanel’s ateliers and Métiers d’Art, allowing this exceptional know-how to shine throughout the world. The greatest tribute we can pay today is to continue to follow the path he traced by – to quote Karl – ‘continuing to embrace the present and invent the future’.”
From: Harper’s BAZAAR UK