Karl Lagerfeld, best known for his Chanel designs, was very recognizable, known for his signature look that included white hair, finger-less gloves, black sunglasses, and high, starched white collars. Once when asked what he wanted to be remembered for, he responded with a quick answer that his favorite fashion design was the white shirt. After his death in 2019, one of his memorials involved a display of white shirts.
Karl got his start in the fashion industry in the mid 1950s. After living in Paris for a couple of years, he entered a coat design competition that was sponsored by International Wool Secretariat. He won the contest and met Yves Saint Laurent in the process. He was then hired by Pierre Balmain to work as his assistant and then apprentice for three years.
Before going to work for Chanel in 1982, he also brushed shoulders with top names like Charles Jourdan, Chloe, Krizia, Valentino, and Fendi. It was for Fendi that he modernized their fur line and gained even more notoriety. He was also the first to create a capsule collection for H&M and has even been seen pictured on Diet Coke cans worldwide.
When Lagerfeld began work for Chanel, the brand was considered to be in decline following the death of designer Coco Chanel. Karl brought the Chanel line back to life by giving a new look to their ready-to-wear fashion line and giving the logo a new look as well. While he was at Chanel, he began branching out with his own line of fashion.
At the beginning of the new millennium, in 2002, Karl asked Renzo Rosso from Diesel to join him on a line of denim with an all-new look. The denim collection became part of the Lagerfeld Gallery by Diesel and locked his name with casual wear. This success was followed by the launch of a new collection, K Karl Lagerfeld. This collection included a wide range of jean styles and fitted T-shirts.
Additional works by Karl Lagerfeld included his creation of a teddy bear by Steiff and miniature Karl-like mice and finger puppets. He has also shared his voice with a French animation film, and late in his life tried his hand at being a professional caricaturist of political cartoons that were published in Germany. Additionally, he was the director of a short film called, “Once Upon a Time”.
The man may no longer be living, but his legacy is sure to last forever. This renowned designer was a visionary who understood the importance of balancing and building a historical legacy. To get noticed in one of Karl’s creations, a woman presents herself as strong and exquisite, though mysteriously inaccessible. His designs were flaunted by and seen on big names such as Nicole Kidman, Vanessa Paradis, and Lily-Rose Depp, Diane Kruger, and Kirsten Stewart.