German designer and photographer Karl Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg in 1933 and began working in fashion in Paris in the 1950s, where he assisted Pierre Balmain and worked at Jean Patou before becoming a freelancer. From 1965 to 1983, Karl Lagerfeld was head designer for French fashion house Chloé and began his longstanding partnership with Fendi, whom he still designs for today, in the 1960s. In 1983, Lagerfeld debuted his first collection for Chanel – the fashion house he continues to helm - and launched his eponymous label the following year.
Lagerfeld was one of the first designers to embrace commercial partnerships and has collaborated with H&M on a best-selling collection in 2004, created a signature
Diet Coke bottle in 2010 and designed a capsule collection for American retailer Macy’s in 2011. Lagerfeld’s slim silhouette (he dropped almost 100 pounds in 2001 after following a strenuous regime, which has become a best-selling book called The Karl Lagerfeld Diet) and signature style – white-haired ponytail, fingerless leather gloves and black shades – is as recognisable as the rock-and-roll-meets-couture quality of his clothes, and the designer often gets into trouble for his outrageous quotes (from calling Adele “fat” to speaking out against same-sex marriage and gay parents).
Karl Lagerfeld is one of the master couturiers of our generation, who manages to preserve the elegance and tradition of the Chanel label, using many of the house codes - from the camellia to the bouclé suit, revamped with leather and chains – while making the iconic brand accessible to a new generation season after season.
Paris, A/W 1983/4
Karl Lagerfeld puts the finishing touches to a model's look backstage prior to the Chanel show.
Paris, A/W 1984/5
French model Ines de la Fressange presents a creation by German designer Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel .
Paris, S/S 1984/5
French model Ines de la Fressange presents a creation by German designer Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.
Karl Lagerfeld poses with top model Ines de la Fressange during preparations for 1987-88 Autumn-Winter ready-to-wear shows.
Paris, S/S 1994
Top model Naomi Campbell presents a turquoise two-piece bathing suit and a white bathrobe by Karl Lagerfield for Chanel.
Paris, A/W 1994/5
British top model Naomi Campbell presents a black stretched velours catsuit with a shawl in the colors of the British flag created by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.
Paris, A/W 1999/2000
Designer Karl Lagerfeld fans himself during his show for Chanel.
A giant advertisement from H&M shows German-born fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and U.S. model Erin Wasson.
Paris, A/W 2004/5
A model presents a creation by German designer Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.
Paris, A/W 2006/7
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld walks the runway with top model Lily Cole.
Paris, S/S 2007
German designer Karl Lagerfeld ackowledges the audience at the end of his haute couture collection.
Paris, S/S 2007
A model presents a creation by German designer Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel during the haute couture collection.
Beijing, A/W 2007/8
Overview of the Fendi Great Wall of China Fashion Show showcasing designer Karl Lagerfeld's creations.
Paris, S/S 2010
German designer Karl Lagerfeld poses next to Dutch model Lara Stone, Italian actor Baptiste Giabiconi and Danish model Freja Beha Erichsen at the end of Chanel show.
Paris, A/W 2011/12
A model presents creations by German designer Karl Lagerfeld during his opulent Chanel presentation.
Models present creations by designer Karl Lagerfield during the 'cruise' collection show in Antibes, southeastern France.
New York, 2011
Designer Karl Lagerfeld at the Museum of Modern Art.
Paris, A/W 2011/2
A model wears an embellished black evening gown by Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel.
Designs from the Karl by Karl Lagerfeld collection are displayed.
Milan, S/S 2012
Designers Karl Lagerfeld and Silvia Fendi acknowledge the audience at the end of the Fendi presentation.
Tokyo, S/S 2012
Designer Karl Lagerfeld walks on the runway.
Paris, S/S 2012
Karl Lagerfeld acknowledges the applause of the audience with models and singer Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine.
Karl Lagerfeld acknowledges the applause of the audience after the Chanel 2012/13 Cruise Collection at Chateau de Versailles.
German-born fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld walks with models. Since 2003, every year, Chanel launches a parallel collection to their Pret-a-porter and Haute Coutute collections : the annual Metiers d'Art collection which is this year inspired to cruise theme.
Since 2003, every year, Chanel launches a parallel collection to their Pret-a-porter and Haute Coutute collections : the annual Metiers d'Art collection which is this year inspired to cruise theme.
Paris, A/W 2012/3
Chanel's elaborate runway at Le Grand Palais.
Paris, A/W 2012/13
British Stella Tennant presents a creation by Chanel fashion designer Germany's Karl Lagerfeld.