We woke this Tuesday morning to the news of the passing of a fashion legend. Karl Lagerfeld died after being admitted to a Paris hopsital Monday night. He was 85, and until recently still hard at work at the helm of several luxury clothing brands, most notably the legendary French brand Chanel.
Lagerfeld was a giant of style and the global fashion business. His influence and imprint can’t be overstated. In the 1980’s he took over the design and creative stewardship of Chanel. As a result of his tenure, the storied fashion house went through a reinvention and emerged as one of the leading and most profitable luxury fashion brands in the world.
To the general public and the world outside high-fashion’s tight-knit community, Lagerfeld might have been a mystery. At a distance, his image appeared to fit with the stereotypical “crazy” fashion industry and media and its pantheon of eccentric characters and style freaks. But Lagerfeld had an uncompromising aesthetic vision of style that transcended mere clothing.
If you haven’t seen it, we highly recommend the 2007 documentary film “Lagerfeld Confidential.” The movie is fascinating and revealing, and provides a behind-the-scenes-like glimpse into the Lagerfeld’s rarefied lifestyle, as well as the inner workings of the fashion business.
The man was an icon in the surest sense of the word. As the New York Times reported in its obituary, Lagerfeld once said “I would like to be a one-man multinational fashion phenomenon.” He was precisely that.