1. No One Really Knows When He Was Born
A true enigma, even something as seemingly straightforward as his date of birth is shrouded in mystery. Though the internet claims he was born on Sept. 10, 1933, this date has been repudiated by both Lagerfeld and his representation — the former claims he was born in 1935, while the latter told The Telegraph in 2013 that the designer was born in 1938. Lagerfeld reportedly explained that his mother “changed the date” because “it was easier to write a 3 or an 8.” Birthdays are a social construct anyway, I guess?
2. He Once Cast Strippers in a Runway Show
Back in 1993, when he was designing for Fendi, Lagerfeld sent Italian porn star Moana Pozzi and a crew of strippers down the runway in lace-trimmed swimsuits. It was reportedly not to a ~certain~ renowned fashion editor’s tastes, as she made an abrupt exit during the presentation.
3. PETA Considered Him a “Nemesis”
Lagerfeld, long a proponent of fur in fashion, met the ire of PETA on multiple occasions. In 2001, the feud reached a fever pitch when six members of the organization threw tofu cream pies at the designer. Ironically, they missed — instead hitting designer Calvin Klein, who was vocally fur-free. Upon the announcement of Lagerfeld’s death, PETA released a statement many have labeled as insensitive, reading: “Karl Lagerfeld has gone, and his passing marks the end of an era when fur and exotic skins were seen as covetable. PETA sends condolences to our old nemesis’s loved ones.”
4. He Used to Carry a Fan Everywhere
5. He Lost 92lbs in 13 Months
In 2001, Lagerfeld showed off a noticeably thinner physique. The designer claimed to have lost 92 lbs in just 13 months, and even released a book revealing his controversial weight loss secrets. Gems of advice included a proclamation that dieting “has to be a sort of punishment,” you should only exercise “fifteen minutes three times a week,” and that “when you are on a diet, you need to stay home as much as possible.”
6. His Famous Mane Wasn’t Really White
In 2012, Lagerfeld admitted to Harper’s Bazaar that his hair is actually “kind of grayish” and that he maintains the snow white aesthetic with Klorane dry shampoo. “That is the best thing to do because my hair is always clean,” he shared.
7. He Was Famously Candid
Lagerfeld wasn’t one to bite his tongue. He made plenty of controversial comments throughout his career, including calling Princess Diana “stupid,” saying he didn’t like Pippa Middleton’s face, declaring his hate for “ugly, short men,” and labeling Adele “a little too fat.”
8. He Was Obsessed with Diet Coke
Lagerfeld drank 10 cans of Diet Coke daily. “I drink Diet Coke from the minute I get up to the minute I go to bed. I can even drink it in the middle of the night, and I can sleep. I don’t drink coffee, I don’t drink tea, I drink nothing else,” he told Harper’s Bazaar.
In his wake, Karl Lagerfeld leaves a legacy of couture creations that make up some of the most iconic red carpet moments of the millennium. Who can forget Blake Lively’s Met Gala sheer number or Keira Knightley’s gaucho tuxedo?
Sarah Jessica Parker
Iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died in Paris following a short illness.
The German designer, who was the creative director for Chanel and Fendi, was one of the industry’s most prolific figures and worked up until his death.
His signature ponytail and dark glasses made him an instantly recognisable figure around the world.
Industry heavyweights, including Italian designer Donatella Versace, issued heartfelt tributes.
“Today the world lost a giant among men,” said the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour.
Lagerfeld’s website says his year of birth was 1938 – though most placed his age at five years older.
Rumours of Lagerfeld’s ill health had swirled for several weeks after he missed a number of events – including Chanel’s spring/summer show last month.
He died on Tuesday morning after being admitted to hospital the night before, French media report.
As a designer he transformed the fortunes of Chanel, one of the leading names in high fashion, but his work also filtered down to the high street.
Away from his work, Lagerfeld made headlines for a range of provocative, and sometimes offensive, statements.
New life at Chanel
He was born Karl Otto Lagerfeldt in pre-war Germany in the 1930s.
Lagerfeld changed his original surname from Lagerfeldt, because he believed it sounded “more commercial”.
He emigrated to Paris as a young teenager, and became a design assistant for Pierre Balmain, before working at Fendi and Chloe in the 1960s.
But the designer was best known for his association with the French label Chanel.
He began his long career with the fashion house in 1983, a decade after Coco Chanel died.
Lagerfeld’s designs brought new life to the label, adding glitz to the prim tweed suits the couture house was known for.
The designer worked tirelessly, simultaneously churning out collections for LVMH’s Fendi and his own label, up until his death.
He also collaborated with high street brand H&M – before high-end collaborations became more common.
Lagerfeld was known to encourage new designers, like Victoria Beckham – who has praised him for his kindness.
Lagerfeld’s own look became famous in his later years – wearing dark suits and leather gloves with a signature white pony-tail and tinted sunglasses.
Lagerfeld said of his appearance: “I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that.”
Despite his age and decades within the industry, the designer remained prevalent within popular culture – appearing in 2015 as a character in Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood smart-phone game.
Lagerfeld’s beloved pet cat Choupette, whom he doted on, has a cult following of her own online.