Karl Lagerfeld, the iconic fashion designer, has died at the age of 85 in Paris. News of his passing has been reported by several outlets and confirmed by Chanel, the French fashion house for which he was creative director.
Lagerfeld was also creative director at Fendi and his eponymous label, and worked in that capacity up until his death. Though no official word was previously released regarding the designer's ill health, rumors began circulating when he was absent from Chanel's couture show in January.
"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," Alain Wertheimer, CEO of Chanel, said in a statement reported by Harpers Bazaar UK. "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 1980s to reinvent the brand."
Lagerfeld walks the runway at the Chanel Metiers D’Art 2018/19 Show at The Metropolitan Museum of Art on December 4, 2018 in New York City.
Getty Images/ANGELA WEISS
Lagerfeld was born on September 10, 1933, in Hamburg, Germany. He joined the fashion industry in the mid 1950s and worked with Chanel since 1983, bringing the fashion brand into its modern incarnation and cementing his place in fashion history as he did it. He was deeply committed to his work. "I hate leisure," he told WWD in 2008, "except reading. I'm really a person made to work, if sketching is considered work. I'm pretty lucky to be doing what I'm doing in beyond-perfect conditions."
The fashion world is already paying homage to the designer, with prominent figures like Donatella Versace posting about his passing:
"The greatest tribute we can pay today," says Bruno Pavlovsky, Chanel's president of fashion, "is to continue to follow the path he traced by—to quote Karl—'continuing to embrace the present and invent the future.'"
From: Esquire US