Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has passed away in Paris. The creative director of Chanel, Fendi and his own Karl Lagerfeld label died at the age of 85. An industry icon, Lagerfeld’s career spanned over seven decades.
Lagerfeld started as Pierre Balmain’s assistant after winning a design competition in 1955. Three years later he moved to French designer Jean Patou where he worked on a number of couture collections. By 1965 he was freelancing for Chloé and started working with Fendi, where he remained creative director until his passing. He joined Chanel in 1982, making it into the legendary French luxury house it is today, reaching over $10 billion in sales in 2018.
His legendary runway shows, rumored to cost over a million dollars a season, ranged from 115-foot-tall rocket ships to full-scale beaches with waves and a real-life supermarket with over 500 Chanel branded products. Lagerfeld’s shows featured more than just banal fashion, he created art.
Lagerfeld understood that clothing needed to be desirable and was famously known for never looking back, always towards the future, the next thing. That’s where the beauty was. “We created a product nobody needs, but people want,” he once told The New York Times. “If you need an ugly old car, it can wait, but if you want a new fashion item, it cannot wait.”