×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Legendary Fashion Designer Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion icon – and iconoclast – who outfitted and photographed such stars as Nicole Kidman and Lady Gaga, has died. He was 85.

Lagerfeld died in Paris, fashion house Chanel said. Although his health had been failing, he kept working up to his death, issuing instructions regarding Fendi’s fall ready-to-wear collection, which will be showcased in Milan later this week, Variety sister publication WWD reported.

“A prolific creative mind with endless imagination, Karl Lagerfeld explored many artistic horizons, including photography and short films,” Chanel said, adding that it had “benefited from his talent for all the branding campaigns related to fashion since 1987. Finally, one cannot refer to Karl Lagerfeld without mentioning his innate sense of repartee and self-mockery.”

Lagerfeld hobnobbed with Hollywood celebrities and the European elite. With his vast network of connections, he was able to cast such luminaries as Kristen Stewart, Lily-Rose Depp, and Jerry Hall in fashion spots promoting Chanel fashions and accessories.

He was also known for his prickly personality, even getting into a much-publicized spat with Meryl Streep before the 2017 Oscars. In what he later said was a misunderstanding, Lagerfeld accused the legendary actress of abandoning his Chanel creation for the dress of another designer who was willing to pay her, calling Streep “a genius actress, but cheapness also, no?” Lagerfeld later apologized for his remarks.

Few disputed his commanding reputation in the fashion industry, or the creative power that helped turn around Chanel’s fortunes after he took over as couturier in 1983. Lagerfeld’s name grew to become synonymous with innovation and luxury, and both he and his creations were ubiquitous presences on red carpets across the globe. Yet Lagerfeld also eschewed the drinking, smoking and partying associated with that glamorous world, sometimes stopping to wonder at the renown he achieved later in life than had happened to many of his contemporaries.

“It’s unbelievable, I don’t know how it happened — it’s so strange, this fame thing,” he once said. “But as my fortune-teller told me when I was young, she said: ‘For you, it will really start when it’s finished for the others.’ It’s quite true.”

He was born in Hamburg, Germany, an only child who from an early age exhibited artistic talent. He eventually moved to Paris and was hired by Chanel.

Behind his trademark dark, almost mysterious sunglasses, Lagerfeld revealed little about his private life. He was known to have had a relationship in the 1970s with Jacques de Bascher, after whom he named his 1997 fragrance, Jako.

More Scene

  • Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala

    Inside amfAR's Cannes Gala: Mariah Carey, Kendall Jenner and Tiffany Trump

    Kendall Jenner caused a commotion when she arrived. Tiffany Trump went unrecognized until a member of the press pointed her out as she made her way down the carpet. And Mariah Carey flew in to perform a couple of songs. Welcome to this year’s AmfAR Gala Cannes, the AIDS organization’s annual — and largest — [...]

  • Lauren Ash44th Annual Gracie Awards, Show,

    Politics and New Abortion Ban Laws Dominate 2019 Gracie Awards

    Female empowerment was in the air Tuesday night as showrunners, writers and performers gathered at the 44th annual Gracie Awards to celebrate women breaking barriers and shattering glass ceilings within the entertainment industry. Sandra Oh, Patricia Arquette, Rachel Maddow and Connie Britton were among the honorees at the ceremony, which took place at the Beverly [...]

  • Sacha Baron Cohen

    Why Sacha Baron Cohen Credits Donald Trump for ‘Who Is America?’

    Over the course of history, comedians have shared their take on current events with biting commentary on everything from class and gender to fashion and politics, and the current presidential administration is definitely no exception — with President Donald Trump regularly lampooned on shows like “Saturday Night Live” and by late-night TV hosts. But when [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content