19 Feb Karl Lagerfeld Dies in Paris: An Icon is Mourned
Karl Lagerfeld, one of the most iconic fashion figures of the modern age, has died in Paris, the house of Chanel said on Tuesday.
“It is with deep sadness that the house of Chanel announces the passing of Karl Lagerfeld,” Chanel said in a statement, without providing additional details such as the time or cause of death.
“A prolific creative mind with endless imagination, Karl Lagerfeld explored many artistic horizons, including photography and short films. The house of Chanel 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,” it added.
Chanel, Spring 2015 (Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times)
The house said Virginie Viard, director of Chanel’s fashion creation studio and Lagerfeld’s closest collaborator for more than 30 years, has been entrusted by Chanel chief executive officer Alain Wertheimer with the creative work for the collections, “so that the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on.”
“Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the house of Chanel’s success throughout the world. Today, not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind to whom I gave carte blanche in the early Eighties to reinvent the brand,” Wertheimer said.
Chanel, Fall 2018 (Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times)
Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel, said: “Fashion show after fashion show, collection after collection, Karl Lagerfeld left his mark on the legend of Gabrielle Chanel and the history of the house of Chanel. He steadfastly promoted the talent and expertise of Chanel’s ateliers and Métiers d’Art, allowing this exceptional know-how to shine throughout the world. The greatest tribute we can pay today is to continue to follow the path he traced by – to quote Karl – ‘continuing to embrace the present and invent the future.’”
Chanel, Fall 2017 (Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times)
Creative Director of Chanel since 1983 and of Fendi for over half a century, plus his own fashion house, Lagerfeld worked tirelessly until the very end. Wearing his signature ponytail and sunglasses, he redefined the “classic Chanel” look over and over, while still ensuring the institution was preserved. He was ahead of the curve, year after year making his shows just as much about the production as it was about the clothes.
Chanel, Spring ’19 (Valerio Mezzanotti for The New York Times)
“Chanel is not a fantasy,” he said in 2003. “Chanel was about modernity and daily life. She started with sportswear. Of course it was the sportswear of her youth, but times have changed. If Chanel makes sportswear today, it has to be in the mood, the materials and for the sports people today. Fashion is for what people do now and not what they did in the past.”
It’s the end of an era.
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