“I’ve have always known that I was made to live this way, that I would be this sort of legend,” once declared iconic fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld. On the first anniversary since his death, these words are even more poignant. While he may be gone, Lagerfeld is not, and will never, be forgotten.
Throughout his illustrious career, which spanned more than six decades, the German designer worked for multiple fashion houses. Even at the time of his death aged 85, he was the creative director of both Chanel and Fendi, and also ran his own label. In honor of the late, great legend, here are some of Karl Lagerfeld’s best career moments – be inspired!
1. From Apprentice To Courtier
In the early 1950s, Lagerfeld won a coat design competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat. Yves Saint Laurent won the dress category and they became friends. After the competition Lagerfeld became the assistant to one of the judges that year, Pierre Balmain. By 1958 Lagerfeld moved to another Paris courtier, Jean Patou. He was only 25 when he established himself as the label’s artistic director.
2. FF: Forever Friends
Lagerfeld’s relationship with Fendi began in 1965 and continued until his death. He served as a powerful leader for the luxury fashion brand, producing more than 100 collections in a 54-year period. Lagerfeld also famously designed the original FF logo in just five seconds. “He had no idea how big the logo would eventually become,” explains Silvia Venturini Fendi. “Otherwise he probably would have taken more time to create it, but it just grew in such an organic way.” Venturini Fendi paid homage to the late designer in the maison’s FW19 haute couture show.
3. Reviving Chanel
In 1983, Lagerfeld joined French luxury fashion maison Chanel as its chief artistic director, reviving new life into a struggling brand – his motto at the house was said to be, “upwards and onwards, baby”. Bruno Pavlovsky, President of Fashion at Chanel said,“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.”
4. All In His Name
A year after starting at Chanel, Lagerfeld decided to launch his own eponymous line, telling Vogue, “I’ve not been dreaming all my life to have my name over a shop. Now, we’ll put it there because it’s the right moment to do it; and I made this name, why not use it?”
5. Picture Perfect
In addition to his design talents, Lagerfeld was also a renowned filmmaker and photographer. The legend shot Bella Hadid for Vogue Arabia’s first September issue.
6. Making History
Fendi funded a major restoration project on the Trevi fountain which was completed in 2015. A year later Lagerfeld and Silvia Venturini Fendi used the landmark as the backdrop for Fendi’s milestone 90th birthday celebration. The maison also paid €2.5 million towards the restoration and protection of the Temple of Venus, which was part of the jaw-dropping background scenery for the FW19 couture show.