Karl Lagerfeld Dead: Fashion Icon Was 85

Legendary designer was the creative director for Chanel and Fendi

By Jess Cohen Feb 19, 2019 12:18 PMTags
Watch: Celebs React to Passing of Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld has passed away at the age of 85. The iconic fashion designer was the creative director for Chanel and Fendi.

"It is with deep sadness that the House of Chanel announces the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director for the Chanel Fashion House since 1983," Chanel said in a statement.

The fashion house credited Lagerfeld with reinventing the brand's codes created by founder Gabrielle Chanel, including those for the Chanel jacket and suit, the classic little black dress, the quilted handbag and more.

"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," Alain Wertheimer, the company's CEO, said in a statement. "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."

Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion at Chanel, also paid tribute to the late designer. 

"Fashion show after fashion show, collection after collection, Karl Lagerfeld left his mark on the legend of Gabrielle Chanel and the history of the House of CHANEL," he stated. "He steadfastly promoted the talent and expertise of CHANEL's ateliers and Métiers d'Art, allowing this exceptional know-how to shine throughout the world. The greatest tribute we can pay today is to continue to follow the path he traced by–to quote Karl –'continuing to embrace the present and invent the future.'" 

In addition, Fendi honored Lagerfeld on Instagram.

"Thank you Karl for the most beautiful journey. With all our love. Your Fendi family," the company stated.


Here's the Real Reason Karl Lagerfeld Was Missing From Chanel's Fashion Show

News of Lagerfeld's death comes one month after he was missing from Chanel's Paris Fashion Week shows. While celebs Kristen StewartTessa ThompsonTilda SwintonMarion CotillardPharrell Williams and Sofia Coppola were all in attendance at the presentation, Lagerfeld was nowhere to be found when it came time for his final bow.

According to the fashion house, Lagerfeld was "feeling tired" and asked Virginie Viard to step in for him.

"CHANEL presented its Spring-Summer 2019 Haute Couture collection this morning at the Grand Palais, in a Mediterranean garden setting," Chanel told E! News in a statement in January. "The collection, designed by Karl Lagerfeld, is inspired by his favorite period, the eighteenth century."

"For the traditional greeting at the end of the show, Mr Lagerfeld, Artistic Director of CHANEL, who was feeling tired, asked Virginie Viard, Director of the Creative Studio of the House, to represent him and greet the guests alongside the bride," the statement continued. "Virginie Viard as Creative Studio Director and Eric Pfrunder as CHANEL's Director of Image continue to work with him and follow through with the brand's collections and image campaigns."

Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Diane Kruger was among the stars to post a tribute to Lagerfeld on Tuesday morning.

"Karl.....I cannot tell you how much you meant to me and how much I will miss you," she wrote on Instagram. "I will never forget your kindness towards me, your laughs, your imagination ♥️ I came to France to see you this week and introduce you to my daughter...I'm heartbroken I was too late ♥️ Rest In Peace, I adore you."