||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (January 2009)|
Lagerfeld at the Red Cross Ball in Monaco, August 2005
10 September 1935 |
|Labels||Karl Lagerfeld (since 1974,various brands)
Chanel (since 1983)
Fendi (since 1965), Chloe (1963–1978, 1992–1997), Jean Patou (1958–1963), H&M (2004), Hogan (2011), Macy's (2011)
Karl Lagerfeld (born Karl Otto Lagerfeldt; 10 September 1935) is a German fashion designer, artist and photographer based in Paris. He has collaborated on a variety of fashion and art related projects, notably as head designer and creative director for the fashion house Chanel. Lagerfeld has his own label fashion house, as well as the Italian house Fendi. He is well recognized around the world for his trademark white hair and black glasses.
Early life 
Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg. He has claimed he was born in 1938, to Elisabeth (born Bahlman) and his Swedish father Otto Lagerfeldt. He is known to insist that no one knows his real birth date: Interviewed on French television in February 2009, Lagerfeld said that he was "born neither in 1933 nor 1938." In April 2013 he finally declared that he was born in 1935. His older sister, Martha Christiane (a.k.a. Christel), was born in 1931. Lagerfeld also has an older half-sister, Thea, from his father's first marriage. His original name was Lagerfeldt (with a "t"), but he later changed it to Lagerfeld as "it sounds more commercial."
Lagerfeld grew up as the son of a wealthy businessman from Hamburg who was introducing condensed milk. His family was mainly shielded from the deprivations of World War II due to his father's business interests. (Glücksklee-Milch GmbH) to Germany; his mother is from Berlin. According to Alicia Drake,[vague] Lagerfeld's mother, Elisabeth Bahlmann, was a lingerie saleswoman in Berlin when she met her husband and married him in 1930.
Early career (Balmain and Patou) 
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In 1955, at the age of 22, Lagerfeld was awarded a position as an apprentice at Pierre Balmain after winning second place, behind Yves Saint-Laurent, in a competition for a coat design sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat. He told a reporter a few years later, "I won on coats, but actually I like designing coats least of all. What I really love are little black dresses." Yves Saint Laurent also won the contest for a dress design. "Yves was working for Dior. Other young people I knew were working for Balenciaga (Spanish Basque fashion designer and the founder of the Balenciaga fashion house), who they thought was God, but I wasn't so impressed," he recalled in 1976.
In 1958, after three years at Balmain, he moved to Jean Patou where he designed two haute couture collections a year for five years. His first collection was shown in a two-hour presentation in July 1958, but he used the name Roland Karl, rather than Karl Lagerfeld (although in 1962, reporters began referring to him as Karl Lagerfelt or Karl Logerfeld). The first collection was poorly received. Carrie Donovan wrote that "the press booed the collection". The UPI noted: "The firm's brand new designer, 25-year old Roland Karl, showed a collection which stressed shape and had no trace of last year's sack." The reporter went on to say that "A couple of short black cocktail dresses were cut so wide open at the front that even some of the women reporters gasped. Other cocktail and evening dresses feature low, low-cut backs." Most interestingly, Karl said that his design silhouette for the season was called by the letter "K" (for Karl), which was translated into a straight line in front, curved in at the waist in the back, with a low fullness to the skirt.
His skirts for the spring 1960 season were the shortest in Paris, and the collection was not well received. Carrie Donovan said it "looked like clever and immensely salable ready-to-wear, not couture." In his late 1960 collection he designed special little hats, pancake shaped circles of satin, which hung on the cheek. He called them "slaps in the face." Karl's collection were said to be well received, but not groundbreaking. "I became bored there, too, and I quit and tried to go back to school, but that didn't work, so I spent two years mostly on beaches – I guess I studied life."
Freelance career (1962–1982) 
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After launching himself as a freelance designer, working with brands such as Mario Valentino, Repetto, and the supermarket chain Monoprix and with financial backing from his family, he set up a small shop in Paris. At this time, he would often consult with Madame Zereakian, Christian Dior's Armenian fortune teller. Lagerfeld later said, "She told me I'd succeed in fashion and perfume."
In 1963, he began designing for Tiziani, a Roman couture house founded that year by Evan Richards (b. 1924) of Jacksboro, Texas. It began as couture and then branched out into ready-to-wear, bearing the label "Tiziani-Roma – Made in England." Lagerfeld and Richards sketched the first collection in 1963 together. "When they wound up with 90 outfits, Tiziani threw caution and invitations to the winds, borrowed Catherine the Great's jewels from Harry Winston, and opened his salon with a three-night wingding," according to one report in 1969. Lagerfeld designed for the company until 1969. Elizabeth Taylor was a fan of the label (she referred to Evan as "Evan Tiziani") and began wearing it in August 1966. Gina Lollobrigida, Doris Duke and Principessa Borghese were also customers while Lagerfeld was designing the line. He was replaced in 1969 with Guy Douvier.
Lagerfeld had begun to freelance for French fashion house Chloé in 1964, at first designing a few pieces a season. As more and more pieces were incorporated, he would soon design the entire collection. In 1970, he also began a brief design collaboration with Roman Haute Couture house Curiel (the designer, a woman named Gigliola Curiel, died in November 1969.) His first collection was described as having a "drippy drapey elegance" designed for a "1930s cinema queen."[according to whom?] The Curiel mannequins all wore identical, short-cropped blonde wigs. He also showed black velvet shorts, to be worn under a black velvet ankle-length cape.
His Chloe collection for Spring 1973 (shown in October 1972) garnered headlines for offering something both "high fashion and high camp." He showed loose Spencer jackets and printed silk shirt jackets. He designed something he called a "surprise" skirt, which was ankle-length, pleated silk, so loose that it hid the fact it was actually pants. "It seems that wearing these skirts is an extraordinary sensation," he told a reporter at the time. He also designed a look inspired by Carmen Miranda, which consisted of mini bra dresses with very short skirts, and long dresses with bra tops and scarf shawls.
In 1972, he began to collaborate with Italian fashion house Fendi, designing furs, clothing and accessories.
Starting in the 1970s, Lagerfeld has occasionally worked as a costume designer for theatrical productions. He collaborated with stage directors such as Luca Ronconi and Jürgen Flimm, and designed for theatres like La Scala in Milan (Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz, 1980; directed by Ronconi), the Burgtheater in Vienna (Komödie der Verführung by Arthur Schnitzler, 1980; directed by Horst Zankl), and the Salzburg Festival (Der Schwierige by Hugo von Hofmannsthal, 1990; directed by Flimm).
International fame (1982–present) 
At the time, he had also been maintaining a design contract with the Japanese firm Isetan, to create collections for both men and women through 30 licenses; had a lingerie line in the US, produced by Eve Stillmann; was designing shoes for Charles Jourdan, sweaters for Ballantyne, and worked with Trevira as a fashion adviser.
In 2002, Karl Lagerfeld asked Renzo Rosso, the founder of Diesel, to collaborate with him on a special denim collection for the Lagerfeld Gallery. The collection, which was titled Lagerfeld Gallery by Diesel, was co-designed by Lagerfeld and then developed by Diesel's Creative Team, under the supervision of Rosso. It consisted of five pieces that were presented during the designer's catwalk shows during Paris Fashion Week and then sold in very strict limited editions at the Lagerfeld Galleries in Paris and Monaco, and at the Diesel Denim Galleries in New York and Tokyo. During the first week of sales in New York, more than 90% of the trousers had already been sold out, even though prices ranged from as high as $240 to $1,840. In a statement after the show in Paris, Rosso said "I am honored to have met this fashion icon of our time. Karl represents creativity, tradition and challenge, and the fact that he thought of Diesel for this collaboration is a great gift and acknowledgement of our reputation as the prêt-à-porter of casual wear."
Lagerfeld designed the costumes for the Carmen sequences in the 2002 film Callas Forever. In 2004, he designed some outfits for the international music artist Madonna, for her Re-Invention tour, and recently designed outfits for Kylie Minogue's Showgirl tour.
Lagerfeld collaborated with the international Swedish fashion brand H&M. On 12 November 2004, H&M offered a limited range of different Lagerfeld clothes in chosen outlets for both women and men. Only two days after having supplied its outlets, H&M announced that almost all the clothes were sold out. Lagerfeld has expressed some fear that working with lower-end brands will taint his image, although in the past he has worked closely with the hosiery designer Wolford.
Lagerfeld is also a photographer. He produced Visionaire 23: The Emperor's New Clothes, a series of nude pictures of models and celebrities. He also personally photographed Mariah Carey for the cover of V magazine in 2005. In addition to his editorial work for Harper's Bazaar, Numéro and the Russian and German editions of Vogue, Lagerfeld photographs advertising campaigns for the houses under his direction (Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous line) every season.
In the 1980s, the Hans Christian Andersen tale "The Emperor's New Clothes" was published with drawings by Lagerfeld.
The designer was also the subject of a French reality series called Signé Chanel in 2005. The show covered the creation of his Fall/Winter 2004–2005 Chanel couture collection. It aired on Sundance Channel in the United States during the fall of 2006.
On 18 December 2006, Lagerfeld announced the launch of a new collection for men and women dubbed K Karl Lagerfeld. The collection includes fitted T-shirts and a wide range of jeans.
Lagerfeld has signed a deal with Dubai Infinity Holdings (DIH); an investments enterprise that will focus on first-of-its-kind projects in non-conventional growth sectors, in line with their mandate[vague] to fulfil unmet market needs. Lagerfeld is to design limited edition homes[vague] on Isla Moda, the world’s first dedicated fashion island,[vague] set in the iconic[vague] development, The World. This will be a collaboration between Dubai Infinity Holdings and Lagerfeld across the GCC and India.
In 2008, Lagerfeld created a teddy bear in his likeness produced by Steiff in a limited-edition of 2,500 that sold for $1,500. Lagerfeld has been immortalized in many forms: pins, shirts, dolls, and more. In 2009, Tra Tutti began selling Karl Lagermouse and Karl Lagerfelt, mini Lagerfelds in the form of mice and finger puppets respectively.
On 10 September 2010, the Couture Council of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology presented Lagerfeld with an award created for him, "The Couture Council Fashion Visionary Award", at a benefit luncheon at Avery Fisher Hall, New York.
On 10 November 2010, Lagerfeld and Swedish crystal manufacturer Orrefors announced a collaboration for designing a crystal art collection. The first collection was launched in spring 2011 under the name "Orrefors by Karl Lagerfeld".
In the French issue of Architectural Digest in May 2012, Karl Lagerfeld shows off his apartment in Paris. He also revealed his vast collection of Suzanne Belperron's pins and brooches and used the colour of one of her blue chalcedony rings as the starting point for the Chanel spring/summer 2012 collection.
In 2013, he directed the short film Once Upon a Time... in the Cité du Cinéma by Luc Besson in Saint-Denis with Keira Knightley in the role of Coco Chanel and Clotilde Hesme in the role of his aunt Adrienne Chanel.
In 1993, he caused US Vogue editor-in-chief Anna Wintour to walk out of his Milan Fashion Week runway show when he employed strippers and adult film star Moana Pozzi to model his black-and-white collection for Fendi.
There was much controversy from Lagerfeld's use of a verse from the Qur'an in his spring 1994 couture collection for Chanel, despite apologies from the designer and the fashion house. The controversy erupted after the 1994 couture show in Paris, when the Indonesian Muslim Scholars Council in Jakarta called for a boycott of Chanel and threatened to file formal protests with the government of Mr. Lagerfeld's homeland, Germany. The designer apologized, explaining that he had taken the design from a book about the Taj Mahal, thinking the words came from a love poem.
Lagerfeld was the target of a pieing by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) in 2001 at a fashion premiere at Lincoln Center in New York City. The tofu pies hurled by animal rights activists in protest of his use of fur within his collections, however went astray and hit Calvin Klein. A PETA spokesperson described the hit on Klein as "friendly fire", calling Klein, who doesn't use fur, "a great friend to the animals", while he called Lagerfeld a "designer dinosaur" who continues to use fur in his collections.
Lagerfeld defends the fur industry and the use of fur in fashion, although he himself doesn't wear fur and hardly eats meat. In a BBC interview in 2009 he claimed that hunters "make a living having learnt nothing else than hunting, killing those beasts who would kill us if they could", and maintained that "in a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish." Spokespersons for PETA called Lagerfeld "a fashion dinosaur who is as out of step as his furs are out of style", and "particularly delusional with his kill-or-be-killed mentality. When was the last time a person's life was threatened by a mink or rabbit?"
In 2010, PETA quotes Lagerfeld, who used fake fur in his 2010 Chanel collection, on their website as saying: "It's the triumph of fake fur … because fake fur changed so much and became so great now that you can hardly see a difference."
Lagerfeld in 2009 joined critics of supermodel Heidi Klum. After German designer Wolfgang Joop called Klum, who had posed naked on the cover of the German edition of GQ magazine, "no runway model. She is simply too heavy and has too big a bust", Lagerfeld followed suit by saying that neither he nor Claudia Schiffer knew Klum as she has never worked in Paris and is insignificant in the world of high fashion, being "more bling bling and glamorous than current fashion."
Lagerfeld created an international furore on 9 February 2012, when he called the singer Adele "A little too fat". This caused instant fury throughout the United Kingdom and Lagerfeld responded with a statement of apology. Adele hit back by saying she is like the majority of women, and she is very proud of that fact. Lagerfeld later caused controversy on 31 July 2012 when he criticized Pippa Middleton, sister of Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, for her looks. The comment was made when Lagerfeld was praising Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, for her "romantic beauty" before adding "I don't like the sister's face. She should only show her back".
Weight loss 
When Lagerfeld lost 42 kg (roughly 92.6 pounds) in 13 months in 2001, his explanation was "...I suddenly wanted to dress differently, to wear clothes designed by Hedi Slimane." "But these fashions, modeled by very, very slim boys—and not men my age—required me to lose at least 40 kg. It took me exactly thirteen months." The diet was created specially for Lagerfeld by Dr. Jean-Claude Houdret, which led to a book called The Karl Lagerfeld Diet, which he promoted on Larry King Live and other shows.
- "Karl Lagerfeld – Biografie WHO'S WHO". Whoswho.de. 10 September 1938. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- "Karl Lagerfeld: Der "Strichjunge von Chanel" – Lifestyle". Stern.De. 3 May 2005. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- "Fendi – Fashion – Modedesigner – 2010". Modedesigner.jimdo.com. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- Colapinto, John (19 March 2007). "Profiles – In the now, where Karl Largerfeld lives". The New Yorker. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Interview on On n'est pas couché, France2, 21 February 2009
- Lagerfeld, Karl; Houdret, Jean-Claude (2005). The Karl Lagerfeld Diet. PowerHouse Books. ISBN 978-1-57687-251-2.
- Sahner, Paul (2009). Karl (in German). mvg verlag. p. 15. ISBN 978-3-86882-015-7.
- Encyclopedia of World Biography 9. Gale Research. 1998. p. 161. ISBN 978-0-7876-2221-3. Retrieved 7 January 2012. "Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld was born on September 10, 1935, in Hamburg, Germany. His father was Swedish, from a merchant banker's family, and made the family fortune by introducing powdered milk to Europe"
- According to "Lagerfeld Confidential", Marconi Rodolphe, 2006.
- Biography News, Volume 1. Gale Research Company. 1974.
- Tungate, Mark: "Fifty". Gestalten Verlag; 2005. ISBN 978-3-89955-095-5
- "Pop Goes the Diesel". Vogue. 10 May 2002. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- Bailly, Jenny (9 August 2002). "Diesel Gets 'Experimental' As Lagerfeld Gallery Takes Soho Store by Storm". Fashionwindows.com. Retrieved 1 November 2011.
- "Karl Lagerfeld Launches New Denim Collection". Designer Denim News. 1 January 2007. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "Karl Lagerfeld Becomes a Video-Game Character". Nymag.com. 8 April 2008. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "Get Your Karl Lagerfeld Teddy Bear for Just $1,500!". New York Magazine. 22 August 2008.
- "Karl LagerFELT the finger puppet". Sassybella.com. 26 January 2010. Retrieved 24 October 2011.
- "2010 Couture Council Fashion Visionary Award: Karl Lagerfeld". Museum at FIT. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "Orrefors och Karl Lagerfeldt inleder designsamarbete". Orrefors. 10 November 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Milligan, Lauren (8 June 2011). "Raise A Glass". Vogue. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "Architectural Digest – Special issue by Karl Lagerfeld". AD / Architectural Digest (in fr) (180). May 2012. ISSN 0990-977X1.
- Ownens, Mitchell (May 2012). "Daily AD – "The aesthete : collecting the singular jewelry of french designer [[Suzanne Belperron]]". AD / Architectural Digest. Wikilink embedded in URL title (help)
- "Karl Lagerfeld’s strippers has Anna Wintour heading towards the exit, on". Sassybella.com. Retrieved 26 April 2012.
- Brozan, Nadine (25 January 1994). "Style – Chronicle". The New York Times. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "Calvin Klein Pie-Faced". CBS news. 11 February 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Adams, Stephen (2 January 2009). "Karl Lagerfeld defends fur industry saying 'beasts' would kill us if we didn't kill them". The Telegraph. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- Delfiner, Rita (3 January 2009). "Designer Gone 'Wild'". New York Post. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "Karl Lagerfeld's 'Triumph of Fake Fur'". PETA. 10 March 2010. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "Heidi Klum nackt in GQ" (in German). GQ Magazine. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "German designer Wolfgang Joop lashes out at supermodel". Bild.de. 17 April 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "Heidi Klum attacked by Karl Lagerfeld. Fashion designer thinks supermodel is "too bling bling"". Bild.de. 23 April 2009. Retrieved 8 September 2011.
- "Adele hits back at Lagerfeld's 'too fat' comment". CTV News. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- "What right does Karl Lagerfeld have to criticise Adele's weight?". Daily Mail. Retrieved 20 February 2012.
- Fitzmaurice, Sarah. "'I don't like her face. She should only show her back': Karl Lagerfeld's cutting verdict on Pippa Middleton's looks". Daily Mail.
- Furness, Hannah (1 August 2012). "Karl Lagerfeld: I don't like Pippa Middleton's face". The Daily Telegraph.
- "Karl Lagerfeld blasts Pippa Middleton: 'She should only show her back'". Daily News. 1 August 2012.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Karl Lagerfeld|
- Karl Lagerfeld Official Website
- Karl Lagerfeld on Fashion Net
- New Yorker: John Colapinto: In The Now. Where Karl Lagerfeld Lives Extensive profile (ca. 10,000 words)
- The Independent: Susannah Frankel: Being Karl Lagerfeld: What's it like being the most powerful man in fashion? 5 November 2011
- "Interactive timeline of couture houses and couturier biographies". Victoria and Albert Museum.