Portrait: Creative director, fashion designer, artist, photographer, and caricaturist Karl Lagerfeld

Wednesday, 23 October 2019 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: Design & Products, Hamburg, Paris / Île-de-France, Portrait
Reading Time:  7 minutes

© Georges Biard/cc-by-sa-3.0

© Georges Biard/cc-by-sa-3.0

Karl Otto Lagerfeld was a German creative director, fashion designer, artist, photographer, and caricaturist who lived in Paris. He was known as the creative director of the French fashion house Chanel, a position held from 1983 until his death, and was also creative director of the Italian fur and leather goods fashion house Fendi, and of his own eponymous fashion label. He collaborated on a variety of fashion and art-related projects. Lagerfeld was recognized for his signature white hair, black sunglasses, fingerless gloves, and high, starched, detachable collars.

In 1955, after living in Paris for two years, Lagerfeld entered a coat design competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat. He won the coat category and befriended Yves Saint Laurent, who won the dress category, and was soon after hired by Pierre Balmain. He worked as Balmain’s assistant, and later apprentice, for three years. In 1958, Lagerfeld became the artistic director for Jean Patou. In 1964, he went to Rome to study art history and work for Tiziano but was soon designing freelance for a multitude of brands, including Charles Jourdan, Chloé, Krizia, and Valentino. In 1967, he was hired by Fendi to modernize their fur line. Lagerfeld’s innovative designs proved groundbreaking, as he introduced the use of mole, rabbit, and squirrel pelts into high fashion. Lagerfeld remained with Fendi until his death.

In the 1980s, Lagerfeld was hired by Chanel, which was considered a “near-dead brand” at the time since the death of designer Coco Chanel a decade prior. Lagerfeld brought life back into the company, making it a huge success by revamping its ready-to-wear fashion line. Lagerfeld integrated the interlocked “CC” monograph of Coco Chanel into a style pattern for the House of Chanel. In 1984, a year after his start at Chanel, Lagerfeld began his own eponymous “Karl Lagerfeld” brand. The brand was established to channel “intellectual sexiness”. In 1993, US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour walked out of his Milan Fashion Week runway show, when he employed strippers and adult-film star Moana Pozzi to model his black-and-white collection for Fendi.

Karl Lagerfeld Store in Düsseldorf © 9EkieraM1/cc-by-sa-3.0 Karl Lagerfeld Store in Düsseldorf © 9EkieraM1/cc-by-sa-3.0 Karl Lagerfeld Store in Düsseldorf © 9EkieraM1/cc-by-sa-3.0 Karl Lagerfeld in 2014© flickr.com - Christopher William Adach/cc-by-sa-2.0 Karl Lagerfeld Store in Berlin © Adrio/cc-by-sa-4.0 © Georges Biard/cc-by-sa-3.0
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Karl Lagerfeld in 2014© flickr.com - Christopher William Adach/cc-by-sa-2.0
In 2002, Lagerfeld asked Renzo Rosso, the founder of Diesel, to collaborate with him on a special denim collection for the Lagerfeld Gallery. The collection, Lagerfeld Gallery by Diesel, was co-designed by Lagerfeld and then developed by Diesel’s creative team, under the supervision of Rosso. It consisted of five pieces that were presented during the designer’s catwalk shows during Paris Fashion Week and then sold in highly limited editions at the Lagerfeld Galleries in Paris and Monaco and at the Diesel Denim Galleries in New York and Tokyo. During the first week of sales in New York, more than 90% of the trousers were sold out, even though prices ranged from $240 to $1,840. In a statement after the show in Paris, Rosso said: “I am honored to have met this fashion icon of our time. Karl represents creativity, tradition and challenge, and the fact that he thought of Diesel for this collaboration is a great gift and acknowledgement of our reputation as the prêt-à-porter of casual wear”. In December 2006, Lagerfeld announced the launch of a new collection for men and women dubbed K Karl Lagerfeld, which included fitted T-shirts and a wide range of jeans. In September 2010, the Couture Council of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology presented Lagerfeld with an award created for him, The Couture Council Fashion Visionary Award, at a benefit luncheon at Avery Fisher Hall, in New York City. In November 2010, Lagerfeld and Swedish crystal manufacturer Orrefors announced a collaboration to design a crystal art collection. The first collection was launched in spring 2011, called Orrefors by Karl Lagerfeld. In 2014, Palm Beach Modern Auctions announced that many of Lagerfeld’s early sketches for the House of Tiziani in Rome would be sold.

Lagerfeld and investments enterprise Dubai Infinity Holdings (DIH) signed a deal to design limited edition homes on the island of Isla Moda. A feature-length documentary film on the designer, Lagerfeld Confidential, was made by Vogue in 2007. Later in the year, Lagerfeld was made the host of the fictional radio station K109—the studio in the video game Grand Theft Auto IV. In 2008, he created a teddy bear in his likeness produced by Steiff in an edition of 2,500 that sold for $1,500. and has been immortalized in many forms, which include pins, shirts, dolls, and more. In 2009, Tra Tutti began selling Karl Lagermouse and Karl Lagerfelt, which are mini-Lagerfelds in the forms of mice and finger puppets, respectively. The same year, he lent his voice to the French animated film, Totally Spies! The Movie. Late in life, Lagerfeld realized one of his boyhood ambitions by becoming a professional caricaturist – from 2013, his political cartoons were regularly published in the German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. In 2013, he directed the short film Once Upon a Time… in the Cité du Cinéma, Saint-Denis, by Luc Besson, featuring Keira Knightley in the role of Coco Chanel and Clotilde Hesme as her aunt Adrienne Chanel. In June 2016, it was announced that Lagerfeld would design the two residential lobbies of the Estates at Acqualina, a residential development in Miami’s Sunny Isles Beach. In October 2018, Lagerfeld in collaboration with Carpenters Workshop Gallery launched an art collection of functional sculptures titled Architectures. Sculptures were made of Arabescato Fantastico, a rare vibrant white marble with dark gray veins and black Nero Marquina marble with milky veins. Inspired by antiquity and referred to as modern mythology the ensemble consists of gueridons, tables, lamps, consoles, fountains and mirrors.

Read more on Karl Lagerfeld, Karl Lagerfeld USA, The 7L bookshop, located 7 rue de Lille in Paris, created by Karl Lagerfeld and Wikipedia Karl Lagerfeld (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.




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