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Karl Lagerfeld: a life in fashion

Following the death of designer Karl Lagerfeld, Drapers looks back at the fashion mogul’s career highlights.

10 September 1933: Karl Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg, Germany.

1954: Lagerfeld made his debut in the fashion world as assistant to French fashion designer Pierre Balmain, founder of luxury fashion house Balmain. He was offered the job after winning first prize in a contest organised by the Secrétariat International de la Laine (International Wool Association) for a sketch of a coat, which Balmain subsequently produced.

1957: Lagerfeld became art director for French designer Jean Patou. 

1962: As one of the first freelancers in the modern fashion industry, Lagerfeld began working between France, Italy, England and Germany.

1964: He began working with Chloé.

1965: Lagerfeld joined Fendi, where he continued to work until the time of his death, when he held the position of creative director

1975: Lagerfeld introduced the perfume Chloé at the fashion house, becoming the first fashion designer to do so without having his own label.

1983: He was named creative director at Chanel.

1984: Karl Lagerfeld, the eponymous fashion label, was created.

1987: He began shooting his own campaigns. Many of Lagerfeld’s images have been appeared in compilations by German photobook publisher Steidl

1992: Not only passionate about fashion, Lagerfeld was a keen artist. In 1992 he created 60 illustrations for the classic fairy tale The Emperor’s New Clothes by Hans Christian Andersen

1999: Lagerfeld opened a bookshop in Paris called 7L, and launched publishing house Editions 7L a year later. The house specialises in books about photography 

2000: After losing 42 kilos with a self-imposed diet, Lagerfeld published the book The 3D Diet, which sold tens of thousands of copies worldwide

2004: Lagerfeld was the first designer to be invited by H&M to collaborate on a capsule collection of 30 pieces 

2010: He received the Couture Council Fashion Visionary Award from the Fashion Insitute of Technology (FIT) in New York

2014: Karl Lagerfeld launched its first UK store

2015: Lagerfeld received the Outstanding Achievement Award at the British Fashion Awards. He also launched ecommerce for his eponymous label in partnership with and signed a licensing deal to launch kidswear from spring 16

2016: At the request of choreographer and director Benjamin Millepied, Lagerfeld designed the costumes for a production of the ballet Brahms-Schönberg Quartet at the Opéra Bastille in Paris. He also teamed up with Japanese retail group Seibu Sobo to design private label brand Limited Edition by Karl Lagerfeld

2017: Lagerfeld was named as the recipient of the Outstanding Achievement Award at the British Fashion Awards and the John B Fairchild Award by WWD. He also created a cuddly version of his famous pampered cat, Choupette, with plush toy company Steiff

2018: As part of his plans to launch Karl Lagerfeld Hotels & Resorts, Lagerfeld designed a six-star, 290-room hotel in Macau

2019: In January, Lagerfeld did not attend the two Chanel haute couture shows in Paris. The label announced the veteran designer “was tired” on the morning of the events

19 February 2019: After a short illness Lagerfeld died in Paris aged 85


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