The Fashion

Narrative

THE FASHION LEGACY KARL LAGERFELD LEFT BEHIND

Well, it is most definitely the end of an era as we say goodbye to one of the most influential people the fashion industry has come to know.

What is most interesting is the fact that he's likely inspired what you're wearing right now. Don't believe me? Keep reading to see how.

Karl Lagerfeld has touched many people from all walks of life. Celebrities have taken to social media platforms to pay tribute to this brilliant individual who has impacted so many with his prolific designs. You have the usual suspects like Anna Wintour, Cara Delevingne, Olivier Balmain, Rihanna and even Lewis Hamilton recounting special moments shared with Chanel and Fendi’s creative director.


Throughout the years, Lagerfeld has also sparked controversy with his opinions and remarks towards contemporary social issues. Karl was reluctant to accept women of all sizes in the fashion industry, even body shaming one of the most successful supermodels of our time, Heidi Klum, saying that her frame was “simply too heavy” to be on the runway. He also had quite a bit to say about the #MeToo movement, criticising the women who had spoken up, for waiting so long.


The infamous designer was well known for his provocative and witty comments, once saying that he was “very much down-to-earth. Just not this earth.” But whether you loved him or hated him, one thing is for sure. The man has left an irrefutable imprint on the fashion industry as we know it.


Here is just part of the legacy left by Lagerfeld during his nearly 65-year career. The longest fashion journey to date.


The Freelancing Sensation


Today working as a freelance fashion designer is considered normal. Back in the 1960s, however, fashion design freelancing was virtually unheard of.
Karl was one of the first to change the game when it came to freelancing when he became one of the first fashion designers who freelanced, creating for names like Chloe and Valentino.


Innovative Materials


Working for Fendi since 1965, Lagerfeld was the one who introduced rabbit and squirrel furs into Fendi’s designs. Something that had never been done before. Can you see a pattern forming here? 


The Reincarnation of Chanel


If it weren’t for Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel the brand would not know the success it does today. In fact, he was the one who reinvented the brand. After the death of Gabrielle Chanel, the brand's future looked bleak with its outdated and drab pieces.


Karl breathed new life into Chanel, combining its signature tweed with modern materials like denim and leather. This move was not well received by fashion critics during the time, however, bringing together past and present is what many fashion houses attempt to do on a daily basis.


Staying True to Coco

Although shaking things up in the house of Chanel, Lagerfeld made sure to stay true to Chanel’s signature tweed suit, using it in each and every one of his collections. He paired them with other fabrics, fraying them, creating suits using both miniskirts and hot pants instead of the original silhouette.


That Signature Monogram


Those interlocking CC letters that we all yearn for in life? You can accredit them to the great mind behind the brand, Lagerfeld. He created the monogram as a testament to the brand’s creator, Coco Chanel. It is now one of the most recognisable logos in the world.


Bringing Fashion to the Masses


Who doesn’t love a great collaboration between big fashion houses and commercial stores? We have seen Moschino, Zac Posen, Stella McCartney and Balmain bring their creative forces to lines available to the masses.


It comes as no surprise that the first designer to do this was Karl Lagerfeld with Swedish brand H&M back in 2004. But if you didn’t manage to get your hands on any items, don’t be too hard on yourself. The line sold out within minutes.


A Most Theatrical Runway


Lagerfeld was the first creative designer to bring drama and theatrics to his runway collections. Fashion shows held in the Grand Palais are unparalleled to any others, what with Chanel-themed supermarket shows, makeshift Chanel stores and giant glaciers gracing the runway.


The Daily Uniform


A lot of people, celebrities in particular, get shunned for wearing the same item of clothing twice. This is not so for the man considered the Godfather of fashion. His white ponytail, large sunglasses, crisp white collar and black leather gloves make up the signature outfit he wore on a daily basis.


He IS Fashion 


Whether you love the man or not, he is probably responsible for most of what is hanging in your closet today. Commercial stores are renowned for copying the silhouettes from the latest collections of high-end brands. Lagerfeld has designed for the likes of Chanel, Balmain, Chloe, Krizia, Tiziani, Valentino, and Fendi amongst others.


Did you know that at one stage he was designing up to 14 collections a year? Now that is what you call hustling.


He Gave us Rules to Live By


His quick wit is something Lagerfeld was well known for and many of his quotes have been used time and time again in the fashion industry. Some of his most memorable include:
“Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”
“Trendy is the last stage before tacky.”
“What I hate most in life is selfies.”
You have to hand it to him. He was unapologetically true to himself.


The It Bag


Everyone wanted one twenty years ago and let’s just say things have not changed one bit. To this day many women aspire to be successful enough to be able to afford themselves the luxurious padded Chanel Boy bag. It’s infamous in the fashion world and somehow has become quite the status symbol. If you have one of these, you’ve made it. You win at life.
Keeping the Craft Alive
Lagerfeld realised in the 1980s that small artisanal companies were dying out. As a lover of a well-made garment, he moved to actively acquire such companies and keep these traditional skills alive. He did so with Lesange, the embroidery house and Maison Michel millinery salon.


The Man, the Myth, the Legend


If fashion were a religion, there is absolutely no doubt Karl Lagerfeld would be its God. You can see how Lagerfeld has helped shape, evolve and breathe life into fashion during the last 65 years. Whether you have an LBD, cropped black jacket, pearl necklace or tweed suit in your wardrobe, you can be sure he has influenced your style too.

About me

Combining my love for fashion and writing, I completed a masters in journalism and public relations all whilst working in the fashion industry.

 

I could go on and on about why I would make the perfect copywriter for you, but that would take months, years even.

 

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