Chanel’s artistic director, Karl Lagerfeld dies at 85


He was around 85 years old.

Lagerfeld was known for his distinctive look in his later years, regularly wearing dark suits, a pony-tail and tinted sunglasses.

"I'm a kind of fashion nymphomaniac who never gets an orgasm", he said in 1984, asked about what he felt after a fashion show.

Chanel chief executive Alain Wertheimer recalled how he had given carte blanche to Lagerfeld in the 1980s to reinvent the brand, from the Chanel jacket to its tweeds and two-tone shoes.

It was the first time that the legendary fashion designer had not greeted the audience at the end of the show since he took over as creative director in 1983.

From his perch at Chanel, the German-born designer presided over the most famous of all fashion houses like the 18th-century absolute monarchs he modelled himself on. She was never known in France. I had to find my mark. "Claudia Schiffer also doesn't know who she is".

"Karl doesn't so much design as reign", one fashion insider remarked. Vogue crowned him the "unparalleled interpreter of the mood of the moment" in 1997. Indeed, his indefatigable energy was notable: he lost around 90 pounds in his late 60s to fit into the latest slimline fashions. For the Chanel AW14 show in Paris it became a high-end supermarket. He managed to preserve Chanel's image as the ultimate luxury, while perfumes and nail polishes made the brand accessible to anyone.

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Bernard Arnault, chairman and CEO of LVMH, said that "we have lost a creative genius who helped to make Paris the fashion capital of the world and Fendi one of the most innovative Italian houses". His public comments also betrayed a willingness to offend anyone, taking aim at German Chancellor Angela Merkel's choice of trousers, former USA first lady Michelle Obama's hairstyle and the body weight of English singer Adele.

While other designers came to be associated with a particular look, Lagerfeld's greatest invention was "Karl".

Though he long enjoyed befuddling interviewers by citing different years of birth, the one deemed the most reliable is September 10, 1933. His only long-standing relationship was with the philandering French aristocrat Jacques de Bascher, who cheated on him with Saint Laurent.

"When I was a child, my mother always told me that you could wake up in the middle of the night and be deathly sick, so you always have to be impeccable". "My childhood was endless-from eight to 18 felt like hundreds of years".

His cat Choupette moved with the times too. After developing an interest in drawing cartoons, Lagerfeld designed a coat that won a contest run by the International Wool Association.

Although he spent much of his life in the public eye, Lagerfeld remained a largely elusive figure. In his over 35 years with the brand, he dressed stars like First Lady Melania Trump, as well as Hollywood royalty like Margot Robbie, Lily Rose Depp and Kristen Stewart, just to name a few.

Other times, I found myself at a loss for how to engage him. "He taught me about fashion, style and survival in the fashion business".