Today it was confirmed that Chanel’s long-standing creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, has passed away at the age of 85 after missing two haute couture shows in January due to ill health. His absence was notable given he had never previously missed a bow at the end of any of his shows during his tenure.
Since taking the helm of the fashion house in 1983, Lagerfeld’s influence on the fashion and beauty industry has been monumental, ushering Chanel from a respected luxury design house into the most profitable French brand by the mid-nineties. In 2017 he was awarded Paris’ highest honour, La Medaille Grand Vermeil de la Ville, to celebrate his monumental contribution to the fashion and beauty industry.
From trend-setting catwalk looks to top-selling make-up launches and side-hustle skincare collaborations, from the day he took the reins, Lagerfeld’s approach to disrupting the industry has been fearless. Under his leadership, the beauty arm of Chanel has gone on to create leading innovations in make-up, like last year’s first 3D printed mascara wand, and his patronage when collaborating with other brands - like his 2014 Shupette range with Shu Uemura, featuring his beloved pet cat - has led to sell-out success.
Speaking today, Alan Wertheimer, CEO of Chanel said "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. 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." Here, we look back at five of his best beauty looks...
Beaded brows, AW12
Brows may be booming business now, but Lagerfeld put them on the map, making them the focus of his AW12 show.
Lookalike Karls, Haute Couture Spring 2005
For Chanel's Spring/Summer haute couture show, Lagerfeld created an army of mini Karl's with matching white hair and black brows.
Pastel-coloured hair, Chanel Cruise 2012
Pastel hair is only now starting to infiltrate the beauty industry, with taste-makers like Helen Mirren sporting candyfloss hair. But Lagerfeld led the way at his Cruise show in 2012.
Jackie Kennedy comeback, SS15
Visionary though he is, Lagerfeld references the past in clever ways as much as he looks to the future, as seen by his recent 80s revival at the SS18 show and his 60s throwback to Jackie Kennedy-style eye veils and pillar box red lips.
Primped-up hair accessories, SS18
Hair accessories are taking off, thanks in part to Karl's stamp of approval at last years AW18 show.