Karl Lagerfeld has always been a style icon of mine, but ever since I read the "The Beautiful Fall" I became more intrigued with his life and background. Of course this interest led to research, and the research led to some fun facts. Did you know that no one really knows his real birthday? If asked Karl usually answers "born neither in 1933 or 1938" leaving his age a mystery. Divalicous!
Born the son of a wealthy businessman in Hamburg, Germany, Karl's original last name was Lagerfeldt. He later decided to change his name from to Lagerfeld because it sounded more commercial. He studied history and drawing in Paris BD t one point wanted to be an illustrator. He got his break in fashion by winning second place, after his future arch rival Yves Saint-Laurent no less, in a competition for a coat design sponsored by the Wool Secretariat. The prize was an apprenticeship at Pierre Balmain.
|Karl and Yves Saint-Laurent, his friend and rival.|
After staying at Balmain for three years he moved on to design haute couture at Jean Patou. His collection if sexy black dresses was well received by critics, and the famous "K" silhouette was born. His second collection was not so popular. The press deemed his skirts too short and not couture enough. Karl got bored at Balmain and spent the next two years studying life.
In 1963, after he opened his own shop in Paris, Karl began to design for Tiziani, and in 1964 he started to collaborate with Chloe and in 1967, Fendi where he worked for the following decade. In 1983 he begins his most famous and successful collaboration with the House of Chanel. It was a perfect match and his work was critically acclaimed.
In the 1980's Karl Lagerfeld was a major star in the fashion world. He was always surrounded by beautiful people including his good friend Andy Warhol. At Chanel, Karl did the impossible. He revived a nearly-dead brand and revamped their popular ready to wear line. Around this time he also started his own namesake brand and developed a reputation for high quality tailoring and bright colors.
|Karl and Vogue editor Anna Wintour.|
By 1997 Vogue had crowned him the "interpreter of the mood of the moment" and his star was hard to follow. His brand of intellectual sexiness had a lot of followers and he was a darling of fashion editors. In 2005 he sold his brands to Tommy Hillfiger, but remains in total creative control. He still collaborates in different projects, like children's books, fashion illustrations, photography and film. That Karl! He really is a true renaissance man.
Lagerfeld is an amazing artist and that is what I enjoy the most about him. He has said that he is always doing diffrent things because he hates to get bored and I understand that statement completely. As an artist myself, I have to keep reinventing myself and my designs in order to keep up with my clients who are always current and fashionable.
Being a designer is not always easy. Having inspiring people like Karl Lagerfeld to look up to does soften the blow though. His incredible eye for design, professionalism and his tongue-in-cheek attitude make him someone worth admiring. I have followed his career and hope to have his success someday. Here's to Karl, an amazing and fabulous innovator.