Karl Lagerfeld passes away at 85


Karl Lagerfeld is dead.

The legendary creative director of Chanel and one of the most prolific and celebrated fashion designers of all time died today at the age of 85 in his hometown of Paris. According to French media reports Lagerfeld died on Tuesday morning after being taken to hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine just outside Paris the night before.

The cause of Lagerfeld’s death is not yet known. In recent months there had been rumors regarding his health, given that he did not appear on the catwalk for the first time at the end of Chanel’s couture show on 22 January at the Grand Palais in Paris. He was last seen in public in November when the Christmas lights were lit on the Champs-Elysees.

Lagerfeld’s exact date of birth is not known as he has always refused to reveal it. He was probably born on 10 September 1933 in Hamburg Germany. He changed his original surname from Lagerfeldt because he believed it sounded “more commercial”. During the early fifties, he moved to Paris with his mother and was hired as Pierre Balmain’s assistant due to his passion for drawing and fashion. He then started working as a stylist at French fashion houses Jean Patou and Chloe, before joining Fendi as creative director in 1968. In 1983 he also became creative director for haute couture, Pret-a-porter, and accessories at Chanel. In 1984 he founded his eponymous fashion label.

Following his passing members of the fashion industry and celebrity fans have been paying tribute to the legendary designer.

‘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 chief executive, 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.’

‘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 added. ‘He steadfastly promoted the talent and expertise of Chanel’s ateliers and Metiers 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.”‘

Chanel later announced that its studio director and Lagerfeld’s right-hand woman Virginie Viard would be succeeding Lagerfeld as creative director.

This story has been updated to include statements from Chanel

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