PARIS — Tributes from leading fashion personalities poured in after the death of Karl Lagerfeld in Paris at the age of 85.
Alain Wertheimer, chief executive officer, Chanel:
“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. 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 Eighties to reinvent the brand.”
Bruno Pavlovsky, president of fashion, Chanel:
“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 steadfastly promoted the talent and expertise of Chanel’s ateliers and Métiers d’Art, allowing this exceptional knowhow 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.’”
Bernard Arnault, chairman and ceo, LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton:
“With the passing of Karl Lagerfeld we have lost a creative genius who helped to make Paris the fashion capital of the world and Fendi one of the most innovative Italian houses. We owe him a great deal: his taste and talent were the most exceptional I have ever known. Artistic director of Jean Patou in 1959, creator of Fendi since 1965, member of the LVMH Prize jury since its creation in 2013, he honored the LVMH group with an extraordinarily stimulating creative and entrepreneurial friendship. I will always remember his immense imagination, his ability to conceive new trends for every season, his inexhaustible energy, the virtuosity of his drawings, his carefully guarded independence, his encyclopedic culture, and his unique wit and eloquence. The death of this dear friend deeply saddens me, my wife and my children. We loved and admired him deeply. Fashion and culture has lost a great inspiration.”
Silvia Venturini Fendi, creative director for men’s wear, accessories and kids’ wear, Fendi:
“I am profoundly saddened as today we have lost a unique man and an unrivaled designer, who has given so much to Fendi and to myself. I was only a child when I first saw Karl. Our relationship was very special, based on a deep and very genuine affection. We had a lot of mutual appreciation and endless respect. Karl Lagerfeld has been my mentor and my point of reference. A blink of an eye was enough to understand each other. For Fendi and myself, the creative genius of Karl has been and will always be our guiding light, moulding the maison’s DNA. I will miss him deeply and always carry with me the memories of our days together.”
Serge Brunschwig, chairman and ceo, Fendi:
“Working with Karl Lagerfeld at Fendi allowed me to catch a glimpse of the secret of the continuous renewal of the house. I profoundly admire Karl’s immense culture, his ability to rejuvenate at all times, to taste all the arts, to not overlook any style, along with a persistent refusal to turn to his past, to look at his work in a mirror. He was restless and his exigent nature would never leave him. The show was just ending that Karl would always say, ‘And now number next!’ He leaves us an enormous heritage, an inexhaustible source of inspiration to continue. Karl will be immensely missed by myself and all the Fendi people.”
Pier Paolo Righi, ceo, Karl Lagerfeld:
“The world has lost an icon. Karl Lagerfeld was a creative genius; he was influential, curious, powerful and passionate. He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the greatest designers of our time. I feel so blessed to have had the opportunity to have known and worked with him, and there are no words to express how much he will be missed.”
Emmanuel Macron, President of France:
“Haute couture, fashion, French and European style have lost one of their most important talents and their most famous ambassador today.
“At the head of Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous brand, Karl Lagerfeld had become an icon. While he created thousands of silhouettes, he also invented one — his own, that belonged only to him, and that no one will forget. No one will forget this unique style that Karl Lagerfeld forged for himself, one that married his taste for timeless refinement with his desire for modernity and singularity.
“Over the decades, crossing several generations of couturiers, Karl Lagerfeld contributed to defining French style and elegance. A caricaturist, a illustrator through to these last months, and in love with photography, he revived a number of places in our cultural history. This young, romantic German, who never lost his accent but knew Eighteenth Century French literary works by heart, just as well as German poems, carried the highest level of European sensibility.
“France owes much to this aesthete who, with his creative genius, marked our country and projected its influence throughout the entire world.”
The president and his wife Brigitte Macron offered their most sincere condolences to those close to him, to all those who worked with him and in particular to the “petites mains” of his couture houses that meant so much to him.
Anne Hidalgo, mayor of Paris:
“I’m extremely saddened to hear of the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, an immense artist and a friend with a rare sensibility who dedicated his life to accompanying women in their freedom and their affirmation. Karl Lagerfeld was a genius. At the house of Chanel, he invented and reinvented with passion, rigor and excellence. His art gave shape and body to love, refinement, the mind-blowing and the marvelous. More than an incarnation of Paris, he was Paris. Everyone who knew him will remember his kindness, his generosity and the sincere attention he gave to most fragile. I thank him with all my heart and send my warmest wishes to the teams at the house of Chanel who are in mourning today.”
François-Henri Pinault, ceo, Kering:
“It’s with great sadness that I have learned of the passing of Karl Lagerfeld, a man of quality, with a lively spirit, a refined intelligence and exceptional culture. An incomparable aesthete and couturier who has transformed his profession, fashion, and the world of luxury, he is one of those people whose creativity and personality will leave an indelible mark on our times.”
Johann Rupert, chairman, Compagnie Financière Richemont:
“On behalf of all of my colleagues at Richemont, allow me to extend our most sincere condolences to Mr. Lagerfeld’s family and to his friends.
“Mr. Karl Lagerfeld’s exceptional talent shaped the Maison Chloé for over 25 years. In 1992, he joined our group having sold his fashion business to Richemont. After many years of working together and admiring his extremely successful career, I was deeply saddened to learn of his passing.
“Karl was a man of immense culture, creativity and refinement, marked by a vast and eclectic array of interests. He was incredibly successful in reinterpreting a maison DNA, year after year. As such, he was and will remain an inspiration to many.”
Ralph Toledano, president of the Fédération de la Haute Couture et de la Mode:
Toledano was managing director of Lagerfeld’s company and signature label from 1985 to 1995.
“We were a family. He was a great man. He was dignity, strength and courage incarnate.
“Karl played a big role in making me the man that I am today. He was like a second father or a big brother to me. He was vastly more intelligent than anyone I have ever met.
“He was also a designer of huge talent. All designers have a cycle of creativity. For very few of them, it lasts more than 20 years. Karl kept going for 60 — that’s huge. His culture was overwhelming. When he would talk to me about a given subject, I was fascinated not just by what he knew, but the way he managed to make me feel at ease and not in the slightest bit embarrassed by my total ignorance and lack of culture, because he spoke to me very simply as an equal.
“His curiosity knew no bounds. Karl was always the youngest among us. He would know what my kids liked, listened to, wore and thought before we did. He always had a knack for spotting trends. Once he felt something would be important, he immersed himself in it.
“He was both creative and a great professional. I always said his creations could go straight from the sketch to the catwalk — his drawings were that precise and clear.
“His charisma was incredible. Sometimes the team would be working late, exhausted, and he would show up at 10 p.m. with a smile and records and food, and the place would light up with a sense of joy, happiness and family.
“People didn’t know the Karl that would answer the phone when the receptionist had gone home for the day. He didn’t try to be anything but what he was. He was playful, of course, and he could be provocative, but he did it intentionally and to make things evolve. He would talk in jest about the most serious topics.
“One thing that makes me happy is that he died working. That’s what he wanted, and he got it.”
“Karl was my rock, he’s always been there for me. Ten years of friendship, creation and precious memories of this time spent together. His sense of humor and words of advice will never leave my thoughts. Karl was truly once in a lifetime, my eternal guardian angel.”
Diane von Furstenberg:
“Karl left us as he lived…quietly, with dignity and no sentimentality. Karl was extraordinarily intelligent and a true talent. He read everything and was a most perceptive witness of history. He understood all he saw and yet always remained detached. Totally unique, he will be missed.”
“Karl Lagerfeld was the definition of passion. It fueled both his life and his craft. His curiosity about everything from history to pop culture inspired him to dream big and create collections that captured a rare kind of imagination that had influence way beyond the world of fashion. He was the modern couturier committed to the artistry of those traditions, but always with an eye for everyday life. Karl was an inspiration, but more than that my personal friend and always a generous supporter. I think more than anything he brought a spirit to fashion that was energetic and alive, a belief in both the dream and the reality.”
“I won’t talk about Karl’s extraordinary and prolific talents. That is undeniable and a known fact. What I can share is my experience. I met Karl through a telegram he sent to me when it was announced that I was appointed the designer at Perry Ellis (some 30-plus years ago). He told me how he knew and had great respect for Perry and that he thought he was a very nice man. He congratulated me on the appointment. He himself would often repeat this story when we were together and around others. He told it even at the last LVMH Prize lunch that we were at last year. He was consistently and hugely supportive of me during my time at Vuitton. He would send me some fantastic — and wildly wicked — sketches from time to time. He continued to be friendly, supportive and very generous with me until the end. He has always been a huge inspiration to me and his work at Chloé always resonates when I think of why I love fashion. What he did at Chanel is beyond words. He made it more Chanel than even Coco could have done. What a life, what a legacy. He is already missed, and, has left a giant, unfillable hole in the disappearing world we call fashion.”
“Youthful curiosity, unimaginable talent, a brain that never stopped clicking and fabulous wit, Karl rewrote what it is to be a designer in the modern world. His reach was far greater than fashion. Early on he understood the connection of fashion to the culture at large and showed all of us in the fashion world to never lose your passion, energy and drive — no matter how busy and fast the fashion life has become. He will forever be an inspiration to all of us and his legacy will continue for many years to come.”
Hilfiger recalled the first time he met Karl Lagerfeld, he was shooting American designers in Paris for Harper’s Bazaar. “I was one of the designers being photographed, and we just hit it off. We were just laughing hysterically. He had 10 assistants setting up his cameras. He would walk up behind the camera, look through the lens, and then click and then walk away. Then they’d reset it, and he would click it again.
“He invited me to his home, and I told him about the business, and I said we’re a public company and thinking about possibly making acquisitions. And he said, ‘Why don’t you buy my (Karl Lagerfeld) company?’” He said he wanted to sell it and wanted a great partner. He said he wanted to do “an affordable fashion brand.”
In less than 90 days, Tommy Hilfiger Corp. bought the brand.
“He did teach me one thing I’ll never forget,” said Hilfiger. “In one of my many visits, I said, “Karl, how did you become so successful with Chanel?”
He recalled Lagerfeld saying, “I went to the archives, and everything Coco Chanel had done in the past, I made it relevant for today.”
“When we began to reinvent Tommy Hilfiger, I used that philosophy with my design team. Let’s go back to the archives, and let’s bring out all the greatest hits and make them relevant for today. It worked.”
“I always thought Karl Lagerfeld was an extraordinary man for his talent at work and in life, which he fused and transformed in a single and unique art: being Lagerfeld. Perhaps for this reason, too, although he designed for brands with great personality, his presence has been so clear and recognizable letting transpire his pleasure in drawing, photographing, in writing books and setting up spectacular shows. I am very moved by his passing, I can’t avoid thinking that until the very last he lived immersed in his biggest pleasure: letting his imagination fly dedicating himself to his work.
“I remember him when many years ago we were together in Tokyo for a show of various international brands. I will never forget the kindness with which he welcomed me as part of this important group.”
“Karl Lagerfeld was a genius, an endless source of inspiration. He will be remembered for his infinite generosity, forward-thinking and immeasurable knowledge.
“Karl has always been a great support, a friend that I have always admired. He was one of the most hardworking and talented men that I have ever had the chance to know. I am deeply saddened by Karl’s departure, it is a terrible loss.
“We often used to have dinner together, either at Le Sept, La Coupole or at his hotel particulier, which had a beautiful garden and was filled with books. We never used to talk about fashion, but when the evening ended, he would go home to work — I didn’t! He worked so, so much. Jacques de Bascher told me once that he didn’t really need to sleep much.”
Takada and Lagerfeld were part of the infamous party crowd that took over Parisian clubs in the Seventies. “I remember when the New York crowd first arrived in Paris. My collaborator [Gilles Raysse, director of the Kenzo brand before the arrival of François Beaufumé in 1980] introduced me to Lagerfeld along with Antonio Lopez, Juan Ramos, Pat Cleveland and that whole group. Lagerfeld really helped all these creatives, he was such a generous person. And when my partner [Xavier de Castilla] passed away, he wrote me a long, long letter. It touched me immensely.”
“I was lucky enough to get to know Karl when I lived in Paris. During my time at Gucci and at Yves Saint Laurent we saw each other often and occasionally had dinner alone, usually at Caviar Kaspia. Karl’s zodiac sign was Virgo and we had that in common. Virgo’s tend to understand each other and I think that we clicked in a certain way. I always found him incredibly kind and thoughtful. He would take his glasses off with me at dinner and soften, and I felt so lucky that he was comfortable enough with me to do that. I mean, how many people in the world can say that they ever saw Karl’s eyes?
“Karl was obviously an incredibly talented designer, but Karl was a genius in many other ways as well. He was wonderfully wicked. His humor could be cutting but have you buckled over with laughter, as long as it was not directed at you. He always said out loud the thing that you might be thinking but were afraid to say and he would say it in such a sharp and clever way that it left you in a kind of shocked state of hysterics.
“He was smart. Very smart. His intellect and irrepressible wit made him great fun to be around. He was intense in the way that could often leave one exhausted simply from the barrage of thoughts and witticisms that constantly streamed from him.
“Karl was the first of all of us. The first ‘hired gun’ brought in to restore the luster of a tarnished fashion house. He invented the template for what has become modus operandi in fashion.
“I will miss Karl. I will miss just knowing that Karl is somewhere in the world designing and quipping as he always has. He seemed permanent. A fundamental part of fashion and of the world. It is strange that he is no longer with us. I am deeply sad that he is gone.”
“Part of my youth went away with you.…With whom can I now laugh and remember those happy and carefree moments spent at Fiacre or Flore? Our first hopes, you at Balmain and me at Dessès….Our arrivals in Rome where I opened my first Maison de Couture and where you arrived to Tiziani, a Roman couture house. You who made me promise unsuccessfully never to withdraw. Karl, my friend, Karl genio gigantesco…my sadness is infinite…au revoir, Karl!”
“Karl was one of the most cultivated and brilliant men and whenever we got together we always had great fun. His contribution to fashion is and will always be memorable.”
“Karl was my magic dust, he transformed me from a shy German girl into a supermodel. He taught me about fashion, style and survival in the fashion business. What Warhol was to art, he was to fashion; he is irreplaceable. He is the only person who could make black and white colorful. I will be eternally grateful to him.”
Etta Froio, former senior vice president, executive editor and associate publisher of WWD:
“To me, Karl was the most extraordinary person in the fashion industry. He was brilliant, he was charming, he was wonderful with people. He was just amazing. His ability to design was remarkable. I’ve never seen a boring Karl Lagerfeld show. They were always exciting and innovative. On a completely different level, Karl was an incredible person who had a great personality, great charm. With all his talent, he still was a wonderful person to speak with. He was never snooty. He was just a great, great gentleman.”
Edward Nardoza, former editor in chief of WWD:
“Karl was the authentic polymath, an original. There won’t be another like him. His presence was a jolt of electricity, a stream of ideas, cultural references high and low and lightning wit that inspired all of us who were lucky enough to have known him.
“He knew everything and always had the funniest gossip. And you could never tell him about a new writer, artist or book he hadn’t already read. I once received an early, advance copy of an obscure new translation of Rimbaud by John Ashbery. I immediately sent it to Karl, thinking I’d finally surprise him. A fax shot back: ‘I just finished reading the galleys on this yesterday! Funny, no?’”
Marco Bizzarri, president and ceo, Gucci:
“With Karl Lagerfeld’s passing the industry has lost a towering figure, whose legacy is both epic and extraordinary and will inspire generations to come. Above all though, it was the pure passion and joy that he never ceased to bring to his work that defined him, along with his consummate wit and wisdom.”
“I met Karl when I was very young and then I met him again when I was in a totally different position. He has always been extremely affectionate and kind toward me. Karl was an intelligent, sharp, kind and empathetic person. A complex man with an easy approach to things. Instead of speaking about the emptiness he leaves behind, I would like to talk about the abundance he is leaving us. He was in love with life, with humans, with beautiful things and he was always ready to have a laugh. Karl was a fresco of vitality and love for the things that surrounded him. If I think of Karl, I think of life.”
“Today the world has lost an icon and a genius. We will always remember his amazing talent, which taught us all throughout the years. We will miss you.”
“I first met Karl when I was a child, he formed a small fashion group with my mother Rosita and Anna Piaggi and ever since then I was impressed by his speed in drawing, sketching beautiful portraits incredibly fast. His extraordinary talent in my eyes made him almost extraterrestrial. As a person, he was also very fascinating and interesting. He lived in the moment, I felt he did not really like dwelling on memories, he always looked ahead.”
Renzo Rosso, founder of Diesel parent company OTB:
“I first met Karl Lagerfeld in 1999. He had just shot Diesel in one of his first photographic jobs and had expressed appreciation for the product on set so I thought ‘Why don’t we invite him to the opening of our first Paris flagship store?’ He showed up, surprising me. A few months after he reached out and said: ‘I am doing my own collection, I want to do denim for the first time and I want to do it with Diesel.’ To see the products we had done for him open his Paris show was an emotion I still remember very well. That project, dubbed Lagerfeld Gallery by Diesel, was by far the forerunner of any modern-day collaboration. That was Karl: He could only do things before the others. Fashion will miss a bright and witty mind and a unique talent, but his positivity, will and legacy will stay on forever.”
Laudomia Pucci, deputy chairman and image director of Pucci:
“Karl Lagerfeld has been a lifelong friend, and I, like many, will miss him. He was gifted with an incredible curiosity and was a very cultured man. His innate respect for iconic brands, resulted in a very personal vision: playing with fashion moments and excitement, while tapping into French grandeur with Chanel and Italian heritage with Fendi. He has taught a generation of designers with his dedication and hard work, his eyes saw every detail. He was the first designer that had more success creating a legacy for brands that didn’t carry his name. In fact, he successfully brought Chanel into the 21st century, apparently effortlessly. But this was not all, he also dedicated himself to Fendi, which lead to success. This can be seen in both his loyalty with the family, by working with Silvia, and in accomplishing a strong identity of the brand throughout the evolution of the business. A clever and witty man, quick and to the point. He always had a positive comment regarding Pucci and his passion for the brand.”
Diego Della Valle, Tod’s chairman and ceo:
“A great artist has passed away, a great man, a great professional in his working life, charismatic and forward-looking. The first time we met, beyond the obvious things, I thought Lagerfeld was a great and refined actor in his everyday life, too. He will certainly be a great example for all the younger designers, who can get excellent teachings by studying his story.”
Andrew Bolton, Wendy Yu curator in charge of The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art:
“There are very few designers who have changed the course of fashion history: Coco Chanel was one of them, and Karl Lagerfeld was another. His great talent was his ability to identify, articulate and frequently anticipate changes in the zeitgeist. Effectively, he invented the language of late 20th — and early 21st-century fashion. His creative genius and quick-fire, epigrammatic wit will be missed enormously.”
Marco Tronchetti Provera, Pirelli executive vice chairman and ceo:
“Karl Lagerfeld was an incredibly creative and talented man. He brought an innovative vision into fashion and design becoming a true icon. He shot the ‘Mythology’ Pirelli calendar in 2011, interpreting the Ancient Greek and Roman cultures. We presented the Cal in Moscow and we had memorable days. I remember him with affection and admiration for his attention to details and the passion he put in his work.”
Carlo Capasa, chairman of Camera Nazionale della Moda Italiana:
“Karl Lagerfeld was an icon. He’s changed the course of fashion with his pioneering vision, his extraordinary talent and his creative genius with endless imagination. He has inspired generations and, above all, he gave us the possibility to dream, with his capability to embrace the present and invent the future. He has contributed considerably to Italian fashion being part of the Fendi family. We are very grateful to Karl Lagerfeld and we will miss him.”
“I don’t think there is any designer who didn’t look at what he did and what he said. It has been a great inspiration for all us of, his incredible career. And he was so funny and very intelligent.”
Francesco Risso, creative director, Marni:
“I think his extreme kindness is one of the most memorable things about his personality. It’s incredible to think that he basically assisted to the major changes that happened in the fashion system in more than half a century. We are all very sad but today we have to work even harder to pay homage to his outstanding career.”
“To call Karl a designer would be an understatement, he was so much more than that, Karl was fashion itself.”
Valerie Steele, director of the Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology:
“Lagerfeld really initiated the era of luxury fashion companies realizing that the name had tremendous cultural capital. After Coco Chanel died in 1971, Chanel lost a lot of its prestige, which had been declining any way in the late Sixties, as she became older and more démodé. But when Lagerfeld came in in the mid-Eighties, he completely revolutionized it. He made the house super-fashionable, super-luxurious, really at the pinnacle of the fashion and luxury field. And he kept it that way until now. That not only had a tremendous effect for Chanel, but it launched an awareness among other investors that there was cultural capital locked in the historic names of fashion. They learned that you could revive houses that had once been very famous but had somewhat faded over the years after their originators had died. This idea of awakening of sleeping beauties has been central to what’s been going on in fashion for the past 30 years. It’s just rare that it happens so extraordinarily successfully.
“His work at Chanel was the most important aspect, of course, but he had his own company Karl Lagerfeld, he did amazing work at Fendi and the clothes he designed at Chloé are very collectible. He had his photography, his fashion films, his publications. When I published my first book, ‘Women in Fashion,’ back in ’91, he wrote to me to say the chapter on Chanel was correct and good. I was so thrilled. He was a voracious reader. Later I read that he would buy three copies of each book, he would keep two for libraries and one to slice up the pages that he wanted to file.”
Anthony Vaccarello, creative director of Saint Laurent:
Vaccarello worked under Lagerfeld at Fendi.
“Karl Lagerfeld was — and always will be — an extraordinary man of culture and vibrant creativity, a symbol of strength, passion and a true icon for the world of fashion and its history.”
Morris Goldfarb, chairman and chief executive officer of G-III Apparel Corp., which makes the Karl Lagerfeld Paris collection:
“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Karl Lagerfeld. Karl’s impact on the world of fashion is immeasurable. Through his bold vision he revolutionized the industry and paved the way for future designers. His legacy will live on forever.”
Audrey Marnay, model:
“The first time I met him I was 16 years old. It was at the studio Rue Cambon. He was very impressive but still managed to make me feel comfortable.
“I remember going over to his home and seeing the huge amount of books everywhere. He was always teaching me things, showing me books. He taught me a lot about art and photography.
“Of all the Chanel shows I’ve walked, the ones I preferred were the ones at the studio Rue Cambon in the late Nineties. There was a real intimacy, we could hear everything that was going on.
“Karl is eternal. He’s left such a mark that he will never really be gone.”
Olivia Palermo, influencer and multibrand fashion collaborator with one planned for the Karl Lagerfeld label in June:
“We lost a genius talent and true legend in Karl Lagerfeld. He impacted so many people with his visionary approach not only to fashion but to the world, and I am so grateful to have been a part of that vision.”
Marc Metrick, president, Saks Fifth Avenue:
“When I joined Saks 20 years ago, I was very new to fashion. The one name I knew was Karl Lagerfeld. Since getting much closer to fashion over the last two decades, I now understand why — and I know he will leave an enduring legacy.”
Burt Tansky, former ceo, Neiman Marcus Group:
“He did everything,” said Tansky, adding Lagerfeld broke the industry mold by setting a new template for multitasking and exuding a larger-than-life persona. “He was a fashion designer, a photographer, an artist. Karl was certainly one of the great, great talents of the fashion industry. His mark on fashion will last forever. He had a terrific personality and a good sense of humor. It’s been eight years since I was running Neiman’s, but I believe Karl’s work manifested in a very, very large Chanel business at Neiman’s. I believe it became our largest designer business.”
Ira Neimark, who ran Bergdorf Goodman from the late Seventies to the early Nineties:
He received a letter of encouragement from Lagerfeld about four decades ago, when Neimark began transforming the store into a high fashion emporium. Neimark still has the letter, in a wood frame. “Karl was very helpful. He wrote ‘If you start to regret change, you are lost. It’s better to be part of the change than to stand still and have regrets.’ When I wanted to make a lot of changes at Bergdorf’s, Karl was very helpful. We spent time together in New York to figure out how to maximize Chanel and how to promote Fendi furs, which were very successful. He was encouraging me to do what I wanted. He had a good business head.”
“I met him for the first time years ago during an event in Monte Carlo and we spoke the entire night about fashion. I loved talking to him and exchanging ideas. He was a great thinker and he will be truly missed.”
“I can’t imagine fashion without Karl Lagerfeld. It’s an end of an era. He preserved and protected the legacy of Chanel with his creativity, brilliance and passion. He worked day and night — how he did it, I will never know. He never disappointed show after show, deadline after deadline. Hemlines go up and down, but his legacy will last forever as does Coco Chanel — never forgotten.”
“Karl Lagerfeld was a creative genius whose mark on fashion was indelible. Imaginative, innovative and boundary-pushing, Karl was as talented as they come. His artistry will truly be missed.”
Lorenzo Serafini, creative director, Philosophy di Lorenzo Serafini:
“Fashion won’t be the same without him.”
“The fashion world has lost a truly inspirational man. Rest in peace, Karl. You will be deeply missed.”
“A twentysomething — with 65 years of experience — has just died.”
“I am so sorry to hear about the loss of Mr. Lagerfeld. A genius and a legend whose vision was always about uncompromised beauty.”
Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall:
“I was greatly saddened to hear of the death of Karl Lagerfeld, who was such as towering figure in the fashion industry for so many years.”
Riccardo Tisci, chief creative officer, Burberry:
“It has been one of the greatest privileges in my life to have known Karl, and to call him a close friend and mentor. His generosity of spirit, kindness and pure unrivaled creative talent will be with me forever.”
Keira Knightley, actress:
“I was incredibly sad to hear the news about Karl. This is such a great loss. He was a legend both as a man and a creative force. He will be sorely missed.”
“I met him with Anna Piaggi and Paloma Picasso in the mid-Seventies and we all became friends. He was a key person in my youth. We trod slightly different paths when I went to build my business in America and then reunited a few years later. Meeting Karl was such an experience and an education for me. He was so kind, considerate and inclusive. One of the greatest couturiers of the last two centuries.”
“I don’t know how Karl Lagerfeld did it. I think he was amazing. I was lucky enough to know him right early on, and oh, he was wonderful to me. I did a collection of prints for a company in Paris and I went over there and was introduced to him. Later, when I did my clothes, he took me personally to a few shops to see if they would take my things. He was always nice to me.”
Mounir Moufarrige, chairman of S.T. Dupont’s supervisory board and former ceo of Chloé:
“He was a great, great man — irreplaceable. I worked with him for seven years [at Chloé], with our ups and downs.
“He always wanted change, but at Chanel, he was very different. He was on auto-pilot, which was so clever, I think. He just took Coco Chanel and modernized her and went onto auto-pilot, you know, with a lot of creativity and changes and all that, but he never veered right or left. He stayed very faithful to the fingerprints of the brand, adding obviously some amazing things to it.
“He went contrary to the wave, in a way, because he kept on improving rather than going backward or staying stale. He kept coming up with some amazing, amazing ideas and amazing cuts and amazing creativity, not only in the clothes but in the overall surrounding, the fashion shows. The guy was a genius. I enjoyed working with him, he was amazing.”
“It’s a sad day, and at the same time a day where we have to remember all of Karl’s incredible achievements, and how inspiring he was for so many different generations. I wanted to work in fashion because of how much Karl inspired me as a kid.
“Karl was beyond fashion, he spoke to different people and was such a strong figure that you didn’t need to belong to fashion to know who he was, what he achieved, his universe and vision.
“He broke boundaries, and he made sure fashion went beyond fashion, through his collaborations, the celebrities, with everything he was doing you could see that fashion was a vision more than a trend.
“We also have to remember that loyalty is really important, especially in these times when everything changes so fast. He stuck to his vision without following trends, for so many years sticking to his vision and being part of the brand that he built. We have to remember the loyalty and the hard work, always believing and staying true to himself. Karl was not just a designer, he was a genius of fashion.”
“Karl was the most educated and well-read of all the couturiers that I have worked for. I would ask what he thought of early 20th-century modern Swedish architecture and he would name five architects and go on for hours! He spoke faster than anyone I have ever met with the net effect of leaving one standing there desperately trying to follow all that he was cramming into his discourse. His work ethic was phenomenal; the work he produced was tremendous, both in its quantity and design.”
Franco Catania, ceo, Giada Spa, Karl Lagerfeld Denim worldwide licensee and distributor:
“I’m deeply moved by Karl Lagerfeld’s death, an authentic artistic talent, not only in fashion. We’ve been collaborating with Karl since 2017 in producing and distributing the Karl Lagerfeld denim collection, which we will pursue with strength and determination, honoring his stylistic legacy, which will continue to be alive and current on the international fashion scene.”
Wes Gordon, creative director, Carolina Herrera:
“Growing up as a young boy, who loved to sketch dresses and gowns, ‘fashion’ and Karl Lagerfeld were synonymous. For 85 years, he made the world a more beautiful and interesting place and he will forever be an inspiration to me.”
Andrew Burnstine, former executive vice president of Martha Inc.:
“I have had the pleasure of knowing Karl for over three decades. Karl was also a great admirer of my grandmother, Martha Phillips, and mother, Lynn Manulis. When we were buying Chanel in Paris in the late Eighties, Martha did not like a particular Chanel tweed dress that was in the collection, and was being shown by itself. She asked the sales manager if they could make a jacket to go with the dress. The sales manager said they would have to check and see if it could be done. A few minutes later, Karl came over and asked Miss Martha (as she was known in the industry), why she didn’t like the dress? Martha stated, “Karl, my customers in Bal Harbour don’t like showing their arms. They need a cover up to go out in.” Karl thought about this a moment, and responded to Miss Martha, “That’s a great idea. I will go back and make some sketches for you to look at, and see which one you like.” Karl went on to include a jacket, and sell it as a two piece dress. He told Martha he would refer to it as the Martha dress.”
Jules Trump, the developer of The Estates at Acqualina:
The Estates at Acqualina, a $1.6 billion residential complex in Miami that Karl Lagerfeld had been working on, called him “a master of modern creativity.”
“Everything he touched benefited from his brilliant point of view. What he created for us at The Estates was both timeless and of-the-moment all at once. His aesthetic will be appreciated and valued by our residents and guests for years to come.”
Taking his passion for interior design to a commercial level for the first time, the couturier designed the lobbies for twin, 50-story luxury towers with 245 units that cost between $4 million and $9 million. “He had never done anything like this ever, but he had this ability to picture the whole thing put together. This really was a first for him,” Trump said. “Initially we thought ‘Are we buying just a name?’ but once we started working with him and we saw the final product it was amazing — a whole different ball game. It was very personal. He poured his heart into it.”
Nicole Fischelis, fashion consultant:
The former Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy’s fashion director knew Lagerfeld from when he designed Chloé. “He used to travel to meet us at Saks in different cities for trunk shows and it was amazing to see that in each city, he could change the look completely by manipulating the accessories masterfully, with how he tied the coat, or the belt, the shoes, or the scarf. It was brilliantly done. And as fast as he spoke, that’s how fast he operated with his hands, turning the look completely different from one city to the next. He was joyful, fun, personal and one of the most courteous people. I have so many images of Karl in my mind.”
“The loss of Karl Lagerfeld leaves me mournful and puzzled. What he left to the world with his creativity is an absolute value and I believe every designer owes something to his genius, each in his different and personal way. His culture and curiosity and the constant projection to the future will be unparalleled and forever in our memories.”
Jacopo Etro, creative director of Etro textile and home lines:
“Today a master of fashion passed away, whom my family and I, in particular, had the chance to work with, providing fabrics for his label, for Chanel and for Fendi. In every decision he was quick and confident as if seeking innovation was necessary to him and in his nature. I will never forget his desire to be surrounded by young people and his ability to get the best from those around him, sharing advices and funny anecdotes.”
Susan Gutfreund, socialite, longtime friend and client:
“He made my wedding dress when I married John Gutfreund. It was a white Chloé dress with a high-neck, lace trim and tiny sea pearls winding all the way down. Of course, I followed him to Chanel and we developed a wonderful friendship. It was such a privilege to spend time with someone who was so witty, so cultured. We spoke about so many different subjects, rarely fashion. You’d be sitting with Karl and he’d make a reference to a book and he’d say, ‘Oh, you have to see this.’ He’d tell one of the young kids in the showroom or at the house wherever we were, ‘Up on the fourth shelf, 10th from the left.’ He had this photographic memory of all of his books. There were so many sides to him that many people don’t realize because of this persona. Behind all that was this incredible man as well who had all these facets and he was the most generous of friends.
“We’d travel together. We’d fly to Milan for the Fendi shows, to Hamburg when he wanted to buy the house in his old neighborhood. His take on what we would see and his reactions to our travels was fascinating. He was lovely to my son, ordering his first gingerbread house from Germany. There were all these lovely, touching gestures that he did.”
Jean-Claude Juncker, president of the European Commission:
“It is with great sadness that I learned of the death of Karl Lagerfeld, a great creator and a real European, a German who has made French and European elegance shine all over the world. It symbolized what Europe has of the best: openness, creativity and daring. As a walker between nations, he knew no boundaries. He has brought together, through his works, peoples and cultures.”
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