A Tribute to Karl Lagerfeld

Latex designers, haute couture fashionistas, casual fans or even someone who cares not a whit about fashion can’t help but recognize the importance of Karl Lagerfeld. A fashion maverick as much as a celebrity, there is no denying the man’s impact on modern culture, not just fashion. This true icon just died in Paris at the age of 85, and we celebrate him here.
We could easily list Karl Lagerfeld many accomplishments and run through his bio; plenty of other outlets are now doing both. His is a storied career, working with Chanel and Fendi, running his brand, publishing books, and photography exhibits. He even had a Karl Barbie made of him, that sold out in less than an hour when it was set on the public five years ago. There is no denying the man’s sartorial importance, but beyond his innovations with textile art, design and branding his approach—what he called his “high fashion and high camp”—there was the man himself.
As Lagerfeld said in the 2008 documentary Largerfeld Confidential “I don’t to be real in other people’s lives. I want to be an apparition.” And that he was in his signature slightly-vampiric style of white-powdered pony, black jeans, fingerless gloves, high collars, and dark glasses. He was a true self-created art apparition who dressed the likes of Rihanna, Princess Caroline of Monaco as much was usually seen with a Diet Coke in hand.
Although well beyond the age of the usual movers and shakers of our modern social media expression (the ‘influencers’) still, Lagerfeld knew how to capture blog space as well as the fashion intelligentsia’s attention. From pulling a 265-ton iceberg from Sweden for a show, building an airplane hangar for another to stocking a supermarket with Chanel dishwasher soap and the brand’s pasta for yet another, Lagerfeld consistently pushed the media, from all its sources, to notice him.
Karl Lagerfeld’s very presence was unique and Herculean in the world, and he will surely be missed.