Karl Lagerfeld’s influence in the fashion realm is incomparable.
The designer, who died today at age 85, was near-synonymous with Chanel, working also for Fendi and his eponymous brand. But apart from his design, Lagerfeld also developed a mystique around himself — becoming known for his signature sunglasses, his obsession with Diet Coke and his off-color quotes about style and pop culture.
Of course, his curated image took a while to develop — and early images of Lagerfeld often show him sans opaque shades.
A 1984 portrait of Karl Lagerfeld with no sunglasses.
CREDIT: Penske Media/Shutterstock
Lagerfeld’s career in fashion began in 1965, when the young West German was hired by French label Chloe. He became creative director of Fendi, a title he held ever since, the same year. Minus an eight-year absence in the ’80s, Lagerfeld worked with Chloe until 1992, crafting a reputation for designs that didn’t take themselves too seriously and runway shows that never failed to entertain.
Karl Lagerfeld at work on Chloe designs in his atelier in Paris in 1977.
CREDIT: Fairchild Archive/Shutterstock
The fashion legend became creative director of Chanel in 1983, where he turned the French brand into a massive entity with billions of dollars in annual revenue.
Karl Lagerfeld acknowledges applause