Karl Lagerfeld, born September 10, 1933, was the genius behind Chanel and Fendi during the last decades. The designer was a true artist in the fashion industry. He came to every brand he collaborated with to innovate their designs and put a twist on his particular vision in every garment he designed. Lagerfeld’s creative genius, often interpreted as an irreverent eccentric, made him a legend in the world of runways and outfits. Undoubtedly, his legacy in the industry will be remembered for many years to come, and his influence will remain, perhaps forever, in the world of designer clothing. This month we want to celebrate Lagerfeld’s life on the day of his birth, so read on!
Karl Otto Lagerfeld
September 10, 1933
February 19, 2019 (age 85)
Born on September 10, 1933, in Hamburg, Germany, Karl Lagerfeld came into this world in one of the most troubled times in history. This chaos and frenzy catalyzed the artistic genius that Lagerfeld utilized throughout his successful and prolific career. His father, Otto Lagerfeld, was in the milk business. Lagerfeld & Co. were importing American evaporated milk into Germany. A decade before Karl’s birth, he founded Glucksklee-Milch, also in the milk business. His mother, Elisabeth Bahlmann, was descended from a politician of the Catholic Center party: Karl Bahlmann and both were married three years before Karl’s birth. We know that Lagerfeld finished his studies at the Lycée Montaigne in Paris.
After moving to Paris in 1953, it took him only two years to find his first job in the fashion industry. Thanks to a design competition, Lagerfeld found his first job at the French fashion house Pierre Balmain. Just three years later, Lagerfeld’s career improved when he became the artistic director of the French brand Jean Patou. In 1964, he began studying art history and working for Tiziano in Rome, and just one year later, Fendi brought him to the brand to work on its leather line. Thanks to this work, Lagerfeld managed to position himself within the industry and began to work for big-name brands such as Krizia, Jourdan, and more. When he joined Chanel in 1983, the entire fashion world could admire Lagerfeld’s genius work. Chanel rebounded to the top thanks to his refined taste and creativity in each design. From then on, with different brands and his brand named after him, everything was success after success for Lagerfeld. A lover of pop culture, he has collaborated with stars from the entertainment and art worlds, such as Madonna and Kylie Minogue.
On a personal level, Lagerfeld was linked for several decades to model Jacques Bascher, although the terms of their relationship are not very clear. The German stayed with the French model until his last breath. In addition, Lagerfeld shared his life with a cute kitten who even has a Twitter account called Chouppete (French for ‘sweetheart’).
He gets his first job in the fashion industry, working for a French designer's fashion house.
Lagerfeld is hired by the brand to innovate its fur designs.
10 years after Coco Chanel's death, Lagerfeld injects the brand with a new life that puts it back among the best.
Lagerfeld's last major collaboration is with the Swedish brand we know today simply as H&M.
Why We Love Karl Lagerfeld
He was an extraordinary innovator
His contributions to design and fashion are so iconic because of the significant contribution his creative designs introduced to the industry. Lagerfeld was a true artist.
He was always improving
Lagerfeld dedicated his entire life to improving himself. He did this through his education, increasing his inspiration to produce incredible creations, or completely transforming his physique by losing 36 kilos in just over a year.
He had an iconic style
Despite being the creator of thousands of styles, Lagerfeld will always be remembered for his iconic black suit, white shirt, sunglasses, and gray hair. Yet, he was always firm in his convictions, no matter how out of the ordinary they were.
5 Surprising Facts
Years more, years less
Lagerfeld used to claim that he was born in 1935, and even when a German newspaper confirmed that he was born in 1933, Lagerfeld continued celebrating his birthday for fewer years.
From an early age, Lagerfeld was motivated by the French art of the time and before.
Social inclinations always
He had a sensitive soul from a very young age and opted to concentrate on painting and history while still a teenager.
Among the greatest
In his first position, Lagerfeld worked with Yves Saint Laurent, another industry superstar.
Although he worked for other substantial fashion houses such as Valentino and Chanel, Lagerfeld collaborated with Fendi throughout his life since he was hired in 1967.
Karl Lagerfeld FAQs
Does Karl Lagerfeld have children?
No, he never had children.
Was Karl Lagerfeld married?
No, despite being in a few relationships during his life, he never married any of his partners.
How did Karl Lagerfeld die?
Unfortunately, it was pancreatic cancer that ended the designer’s life.
Karl Lagerfeld’s birthday dates