‘There will never be another one like him’
Karl Lagerfeld was one of the most intelligent designers of his era. He was always ahead with his moves, and his moves were always right. Fashion wasn’t just an artistic exercise for him; it had to sell. And I think he wasn’t after the money, but the power and the clout.
He had a very interesting mind. There was no limit to what he wanted or liked. But he knew his responsibilities in promoting and marketing the fashion houses he worked for. He created illusion and the kind of publicity that made money for the fashion houses. And he made money for them, that’s why he was able to do all those big-budget shows.
He did interviews with everyone, so in a way he wasn’t snooty. He was media-conscious. He took charge of his image. He had a strong personality and was very opinionated. He was confident. In a way, he was like a king, though I also read that he hated the moniker “Kaiser,” because that made him seem like a dictator.
More than a designer, I think he was a businessman. He knew what to demand from those under and above him.
I liked his work so much better in the last decade or two. I think it’s unfair to label him as “stylist”—that may have come from those who were jealous of him. To be able to recharge Chanel you had to be very creative, because when he came in in 1983, Chanel was nothing. He made Chanel relevant again.
He was a workaholic. To last that long in fashion, to survive his generation of designers, that alone is an achievement in itself. His longevity is an anomaly, especially now, when there’s no nurturing of talent—they unload you before you even peak. There will never be another one like him.
‘Never out of step’
He was probably the most significant designer of our time. He worked from the 1950s to the present. His designs were never out of fashion, unlike many of his contemporaries. He was never out of step. He kept evolving and adapting to the modern world.
‘14 collections a year’
Big loss to the fashion world. Incredible talent. I learned he did 14 collections a year. And what staying power! He worked until his death at 85. The fashion business is notorious for chewing and spitting out talents at a rapid fashion. Today’s toast of the town will be tomorrow’s toast.
‘Unrelenting work ethic’
It’s a sad day in fashion. Karl Lagerfeld changed the landscape of world culture as we know it. When you experience his power and hold over the zeitgeist for more than 50 year, that’s something else. His was an energy like no other. To hold the creative position of two major houses, Fendi and Chanel, plus his eponymous line, creating up to 14 collections a year, plus other collaborations—that’s incredible. He had a deep, unrelenting creative work ethic that is almost supernatural. We lost a great human being.
‘He made couture fun’
Karl Lagerfeld’s passing is a death of an icon and the end of an era. He was the epitome of fashion. He made couture fun! He was a good narrator—with every collection, he told us a wonderful story and transported us to [his] magical [mind] each time. He inspired and paved the way for other generations of designers. He taught us to love what we do, to be passionate, to exaggerate, to create our own iconic look. Karl will be missed.
‘My source of inspiration’
The fashion world has lost a fashion genius. He was a fashion god, designing three fashion houses at the same time. He had a brilliant career of over half a century. He was my source of inspiration, from his Jean Patou days up to his modern take on Chanel. And I loved his wit and wisdom.
‘Mind-boggling three houses’
Karl Lagerfeld’s career is definitely one for the books. He and Yves Saint Laurent started almost at the same time in the 1950s, both in their late teens. Along the way he headed some of the most illustrious brands in fashion—at the time of his death, as creative director for a mind-boggling three houses at the same time. Now imagine the burden of this job—if one designer bows down because he can’t handle the pressure of heading just one house, how much more if you have three in your hands?
Mr. Lagerfeld was made up of the toughest stuff. In sports, we call it endurance, and in entertainment, virtuosity. He was the Madonna of fashion industry, having outlived his contemporaries and, till the end, still on top of the game.
But the most curious aspect of Mr. Lagerfeld’s career was his decision not to establish his own couture house. He didn’t follow a typical designer’s career and decided instead to work for other labels. This was his direction right from the start. He knew that his power and strength comes from collaboration. And no other designer has reigned this long in the ready-to-wear business other than Karl Lagerfeld. He had his own kingdom and, boy, how he ruled.
‘An 18th-century man in modern times’
I’ve always been fascinated by the life of Karl Lagerfeld, I’ve always thought he was sort of a vampire, an 18th-century man living in modern times. He borrows a lot of design elements from the Rococo period and makes them absolutely modern. –CHECHE V. MORAL