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Karl Lagerfeld Dies at 85

Chanel names longtime collaborator Virginie Viard as successor



Legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld passed away this morning in Paris at the age of 85. He was viewed as an industry icon that redefined luxury fashion in the modern era.

Lagerfeld's prominent influence on the fashion industry continued until his final days; the designer refused to retire and remained a vital figure at Chanel until his death, designing up to 14 collections per year. The New York Times called Lagerfeld “the most prolific designer of the 20th and 21st centuries” and said he “was the definition of a fashion polyglot, able to speak the language of many different brands at the same time.”

Lagerfeld had been ill for several weeks and was absent from Chanel's spring/summer 2019 haute couture fashion show in Paris last month.

His résumé reads as a who’s who of the fashion world: The designer began his career in 1955 as Pierre Balmain’s assistant and then went on to design for Jean Patou, Chloé, and Fendi, becoming creative director for Chanel in 1983 (a decade after founder Coco Chanel’s passing), founding his namesake label a year later. He grew Chanel into an empire, grossing $4 billion per year. Lagerfeld continued to design for both Chanel and his own brand until his passing.

He was an at times controversial but always easily identifiable figure in the industry, dressing in a uniform of sorts – with his signature white hair pulled back into a ponytail, dark sunglasses, fingerless gloves, starched collars and black jeans – and he self-identified as a caricature.

Chanel has named Virginie Viard has Lagerfeld’s successor, according to Women’s Wear Daily. She was his closest collaborator for more than 30 years serving as the company’s director of its Paris fashion creation studio. The fashion house announced Lagerfeld's death, expressing its "deep sadness."




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