Karl Lagerfeld dead at 85 – celebrities pay tribute to Chanel's legendary designer

Francesca Specter
·Yahoo Style UK deputy editor
Karl Lagerfeld has passed away at the age of 85. [Photo: Getty]
Karl Lagerfeld has passed away at the age of 85. [Photo: Getty]

Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85.

The Chanel artistic director died in the American Hospital of Paris this morning after being rushed to hospital on Monday night, according to French media reports.

No cause of death has been confirmed, but it’s thought Lagerfeld had been suffering from ill health for a number of weeks.

Concerns about the German-born designer’s condition arose on 22 January 2019, when he missed two of Chanel’s haute couture shows in Paris.

At the time, Chanel issued a statement explaining that the designer was “tired.”

Celebrities and fellow designers are paying tribute to the fashion giant, including both David and Victoria Beckham, Elton John, Penelope Cruz, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kim Kardashian, Cindy Crawford, Alexa Chung and fellow designers Donatella Versace and Stella McCartney.

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The House of Chanel has responded to Lagerfeld’s death with the following statement:

“An extraordinary creative individual, Karl Lagerfeld reinvented the brand’s codes created by Gabrielle Chanel: the Chanel jacket and suit, the little black dress, the precious tweeds, the two-tone shoes, the quilted handbags, the pearls and costume jewellery.

“Regarding Gabrielle Chanel, he said, “My job is not to do what she did, but what she would have done. The good thing about Chanel is it is an idea you can adapt to many things.”

Alain 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.”

Born in Hamburg, Germany in 1933, Lagerfeld joined Chanel in 1983, and is credited with breathing new life into the French label with his larger-than-life runway spectacles and repurposing of the interlocking CC logo.

His illustrious career also includes stints at Jean Patou, Chloé and Hogan, and a design relationship with Fendi that has spanned more than five decades.

He collaborated with H&M in 2004 and also oversaw his own Karl Lagerfeld line.

Lagerfeld’s image — he was faithful to his gray ponytail, sunglasses and black suits with cravats and fingerless gloves, and famously drank Diet Coke out of crystal goblets — is as well-known as his designs.

He was also famously outspoken, and caused controversy for making cutting remarks about the appearance of several high-profile women.

As well as working with Chanel, Lagerfeld collaborated with Italian fashion house Fendi from 1965, on furs, clothing and accessories, as well as working on his own eponymous label.

Additional reporting by Erin Donnelly.

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