Karl Lagerfeld is an icon. Period. And there are numerous reasons why we deeply admire him. So many indeed, that we decided to narrow it down to the seven most prominent ones. If you haven't found your love for King Karl yet, you most certainly want to read on.
1) His endurance. Karl Lagerfeld has been in the business for quite some time and last year he celebrated his fiftieth year at Italian fashion house Fendi. Even though the designer himself "doesn't do milestones", it is one to take a look at. 50 years, that is the world record for holding the position as creative director at a brand. The remarkable thing, his work at Fendi almost fades into the background since Lagerfeld is mostly known for his work at Chanel. Also, Fendi is still in the hands of the Fendi family, mainly Silvia Venturini Fendi and her daughter Delfina Delettrez. Karl also worked for the French brand Chloe from 1963-1978 and again from 1992-1997, adding yet another high-profile label to his resume.
2) " I like to reinvent myself - it's part of my job." Karl knows that in order to get better and stay on top of the fashion world, you have to reinvent yourself and push, if not break the boundaries. It has been said by his employees that he is always very far ahead and always looking forward, never letting himself keep occupied with the now. And this forward-thinking attitude and him taking in the mood of the moment is what makes him an icon. Take for example the feminist wave of 2014: Lagerfeld didn't shy away from taking a stand as a feminist and sending his models (female and male) down the runway with signs saying "History is Her story" and "Free freedom" while chanting slogans. He paid homage to the 70s and their fight for freedom by dressing his models in more masculine silhouettes such a suits, military olive colored jackets and brightly colored skirt and blouse combinations. Whereas Chanel was always known for a classy approach of fashion, it was Karl and his driven mind that made the brand become more than a classic French fashion house but a brand with a vision.
3) Reviving Chanel and still staying true to the brand. Karl himself once said: "What I do, Coco would have hated. The label has an image and it's up to me to update it. I do what she never did (...) I had to go from what Chanel was to what it should be." With his visions he revitalized the Haute Couture in the 80s and brought a new direction to the label while still incorporating iconic fabrics and silhouettes like the bouclé Chanel jacket. Karl did something that no one thought possible, he took a near-dead brand and made it the most sought after company in the world.
4) From humble beginnings to superstardom. Karl Lagerfeld, who grew up in Hamburg, Germany, came from a simple family. His father a businessman who imported condensed milk and his mother a violinist. Needless to say he didn't have an easy start with no real knowledge of fashion. That changed when he moved to Paris at the age of 14. After entering design competitions he ended up at Pierre Balmain, became close friends with fellow designer Yves Saint Laurent and the rest is history. His story shows that you can go from almost nothing to a lot of something and that everyone can make it if you just work hard enough.
5) His legendary fashion quotes. We all remember Karl's quote concerning sweatpants. If not, he said that sweatpants are a sign of defeat and that you lost control of your life. After that, the world was split into two. One party, which praised King Karl and the other one, who either was enraged about such a comment or were demonstratively wearing their Juicy Couture sweats in order to protest such an insult. Nevertheless, it was something everyone talked about and in the course of the debate also about Chanel and Karl's eponymous brand. The list of memorable quotes goes on, from his motivation to lose weight ("I lost 200lb to wear suits by Hedi Slimane") to his opinion on tattoos ("I think tattoos are horrible. It's like living in a Pucci dress full-time. If you're young and tight, maybe it's OK, but..."). Keep the quotes coming Karl, that's why we love you even more!
6) His insane fashion shows. With his mind-blowing visions of what a fashion show setting has to look like, Karl Lagerfeld transformed Paris Fashion Week ever since he showcased his first ready-to-wear collection for Chanel in 1984. From then on, the Chanel show has always been a spectacle to be counted on. From post-apocalyptic settings to a real jet-plane for his resort collection, from a life size carousel to a runway made from solar panels and equipped with gigantic wind turbines. His motto seems to be "the bigger the better". And every Chanel show seems to want to outdo the last. A highlight has to be his previous show for which he transformed the Grand Palais in Paris into a Chanel-themed airport terminal complete with baggage-check, boarding lists and numbered gates. A fashion take-off in every way!
7) His magnificent fashion films. He directed an ode to Chanel founder Coco Chanel with his film noir „Once upon a time..." starring Keira Knightley. And he also created the fashion film „The Return" with Geraldine Chaplin, Charlie Chaplins daughter. These films are not only directed very well, but take the Chanel customer further into the world of brand. An enchanting and truly mesmerizing world in which fashion and the history of the brand collide.
By Elena Reudenbach