Karl Lagerfeld passed away on 19 February 2019 at age of 85, leaving behind a huge fashion legacy. With a career spanning 64 years and his extraordinary creative talent, Lagerfeld has reinvented the codes created by Gabrielle Chanel, like the little black dress, tailored jacket, bicoloured shoes, quilted bags and much more. His work was much more than just design, Lagerfeld explored many artistic horizons too, including photography and cinema.
As a way to honour him, we’ve rounded-up 10 little-known facts about the iconic fashion designer below.
1. Karl Lagerfeld was born in 1933 in Hamburg, Germany and spoke fluent English, French, Italian and German.
2. His real name was Karl Otto Lagerfeldt, but he decided to remove the letter T from the end because he thought it would become more commercial.
3. Lagerfeld made is foray into the fashion world in 1955 after winning first place at a design competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat. During the contest, he met and became friends with none other than Yves Saint Laurent.
4. For his first job in fashion in 1955, Lagerfeld worked as an assistant to Pierre Balmain. He went on to work at Fendi in 1967 and at Chanel in 1983 – just a decade after the death of Coco Chanel.
5. He was addicted to soda. In fact, Lagerfeld was so addicted to the drink that, according to Page Six, he kept a butler on hand to accompany him at parties with a glass of soda on a silver platter.
6. He kept his ponytail from 1976. On occasion, Lagerfeld revealed that in the ’70s he got tired of having long, curly hair, which prompted him to pull it back into a ponytail. That has been his signature hairstyle ever since.
7. He wanted to become a cartoonist, but he thought he would make more money in fashion. Lagerfeld said he hoped to become a cartoon artist, but he always liked fashion and thought he could make a living following that career.
8. The designs of Hedi Slimane, in particular one of Slimane’s Dior Homme suits (designed to fit only the slimmest frames), inspired Lagerfeld to lose weight. According to New York Magazine, the fashion designer was so enamored by Slimane and his work that it provoked an obsession to lose weight. Not only did Lagerfeld end up losing 40kg on a low-calorie diet, he wrote a book about it.
9. In 1999, Lagerfeld opened the bookstore in Paris on Rue de Lille to sell a collection of books on art, fashion, architecture, food, photography and design.
10. Lagerfeld served as costume designer for 16 film productions, including 1988’s “Babette’s Feast“.