We'll miss the iconic Kaiser
Photos @ Shutterstock
The head - and face - of French fashion house Chanel for 36 years, was taken to a hospital in Paris on Monday night and passed away yesterday due to pancreatic cancer. The fashion world has lost its Kaiser.
The iconic German designer wasn’t feeling well enough to attend Chanel’s Couture Spring 2019 collection last month. This was the first time in his long career that he missed one of his shows and didn’t show up to take the final bow. Rumours had it that he was going to resign, but Lagerfeld had repeatedly affirmed that he would never quit because for him, “to design is to breathe, so if I can’t breathe, I’m in trouble!”
In fact, up to his final moments, the flamboyant designer was working on the Fendi autumn/winter ’19/’20 collection that will be shown later this week at the Milan Fashion Week. He was not only head of Chanel but also of his namesake label Karl Lagerfeld and creative director for Fendi, all of this at the same time and at 85, I doubt any young designer would be able to keep up his pace.
Lagerfeld transformed Chanel’s "vieux jeu" image into a modern, sexy fashion house, and the most desirable label on this planet. Each new collection was expected with great anticipation; the luxury label catwalk shows were unrivalled, magical and absolutely breathtaking, Lagerfeld would create theatrical scenarios like a forest, a beach with sea water and all, or a ship.
The Kaiser was born in Hamburg and fell in love with fashion when his mother took him to a Dior show when he was 16. Five years later he won first prize in a fashion competition with a coat he designed. A very young Yves Saint Laurent won the best dress award at that same event; this was the beginning of a life-long rivalry between the two gifted designers.
Over Lagerfeld’s prolific and extremely long career - 64 years - the designer became a legend and an icon in the fashion world, with his trademark ponytail, dark glasses, white high-collared shirts, black suits and black leather fingerless gloves. His adored cat Choupette, that appeared in many of his creations, was almost equally famous, its Instagram and Twitter account have hundreds of thousands of followers!
Besides his incredible talent, imagination and never-ending energy, we will deeply miss Lagerfeld’s self-parody and acid remarks that were so refreshing in this boring “politically correct” world. Among his many wonderful and unapologetic sentences, he declared that “sweatpants are a sign of defeat, you lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants”.