karl lagerfeld has died aged 85 in paris. the designer, photographer, publisher, designer, and film director created a universe all his own, in which every detail was of absolute importance.


his death comes after missing his end-of-show-bow during the chanel show at paris fashion week in january because he was unable to attend. lagerfeld presided over the iconic fashion house, established by coco chanel, for more than three decades. it was the first time since the german designer took over as the fashion house’s creative director in 1983 that he had not spoken to fashion fans after a show.

iconic fashion designer karl lagerfeld dead aged 85
portrait of the german designer with 699 superleggera chairs by gio ponti
photo by karl lagerfeld for cassina
thumbnail image courtesy of karl lagerfeld



lagerfeld was born in hamburg in 1933 to the son of businessman otto lagerfeld, and his wife elizabeth bahlmann. he started out a career in fashion when he was hired as pierre balmain’s assistant before moving to jean patou where he started designing haute couture. during the 60s and 70s lagerfeld began freelancing and creating one-off pieces for fashion houses like fendi, and chloé where he would eventually design the entire collection.


lagerfeld had a unique ability to capture, anticipate, and interpret tomorrow’s trends. in 1983, he produced his first couture collection for chanel, where he would stay for over thirty years. in 1984, after a year at chanel, he launched his own eponymous label. lagerfeld decided to move behind the lens in 1987, and had since created and shot his own advertising campaigns for all the brands of which he was the designer. his passion for photography and for books transformed his campaigns into veritable art books.


with a taste for photography and a great sense of stage direction, lagerfeld could not fail as a director for the silver screen. the results of this new form of applied art — the short movies that he directed for his multiple collaborations — further reveal the idea behind karl lagerfeld’s aesthetic vision.