Friday, 4 December 2009

Karl Lagerfeld Biography

Karl Lagerfeld is an absolute legend. He's the current Head Designer and Creative Director of Chanel. And because we all love him so much, I thought I'd do a short biography about him. Nothing too in depth, just a bt of background information about him.
  • Karl Lagerfeld is one of the most influential designers of the 20th Century and has worked with lots of different fashion labels, such as Chloe, Fendi and Chanel. Currently, he designs for his own label, Chanel and Fendi.
  • He was born in Germany but spent most of his time based in Paris. He was born in Hamburg in the 1930's. He claims that he was born in 1938, but many others, such as people who knew him at school, say he was born in 1933.
  • He moved to Paris in the early 1950's and in 1954, he won a position to apprentice with Pierre Balmain. He came in second, just behind Yves Saint Laurent. First place YSL got to help design dresses, which is what Lagerfeld always wanted to design.
  • In 1958, he moved to help at Jean Patou and he also managed to design a few Haute Couture collections.
  • His first collection was not well recieved, but his 1959 collections were a huge improvement. Carrie Donovan, the New York Times Magazine's Style Editor, said that the collection was 'chic, elegant and had class'.
  • Although, he, again, recieved bad press in 1960, when he designed very short skirts.
  • He also started working for Chloe during the 1960's. He started off by designing a few pieces, but as time went on, ended up designing whole collections.
  • He started designing furs and clothes for Fendi in the late 1960's/early 1970's.
  • He also started designing independently until 1982, with the help of Gilles DuFour, when he started designing Haute Couture and Ready To Wear at Chanel.
  • In 1984, he started his own label which he said, would channel "intellectual sexiness", and then in 1992, he returned to Chloe and worked there until 1997, which is when Stella McCartney took over.
  • In the 1990's, for his black and white Fendi Collection, he got strippers and an Italian 'adult' film star to model. This caused Anna Wintour to walk out of the runway show.
  • In 2004, he helped design some outfits for Madonna's Re-Invention tour and also for Kylie Minogue's Showgirl tour.
  • In November 2004, Lagerfeld worked with H&M, who offered different Largerfeld clothes in various chosen stores. The collection was nearly sold out 2 days later.
  • In 2005, he sold his Karl Lagerfeld label to Tommy Hilfiger, but he still has creative control.
  • In December 2006, he launched a new collection for both men and women, called K Karl Lagerfeld. This collection included fitted t-shirts and lots of jeans.
Now what legend would be complete without controversy?
  • He's gotten in to various 'diagreements' with animal rights activists and groups, such as PETA. He, along with Calvin Klein, were pied by PETA in 2001, in New York.
  • He also argued with them about the use of furs. Lagerfeld defended using fur in fashion, calling anti-fur protesters 'childish'. He argued that animals would most likely kill their human predators and that "In a meat eating world, wearing leather for shoes and even clothes, the discussion of fur is childish".
  • He's also faced controvesy when it comes to weight issues. He once lost 103 pounds to fit into a Hedi Slimane suit.
  • Not to mention his anger at the German Magazine, Brigitte, who recently opted to feature only 'normal-sized' models. He exclaimed that 'people prefer to look at "skinny models", and those who do not are "fat mummies"' (The Guardian). He said that Brigitte was absurd and was forced by overweight women who wanted to ignore their weight issues. He went on to claim that 'these are fat mummies sitting with their bags of crisps in front of the television, saying that thin models are ugly and that the world of fashion was all to do "with dreams and illusions, and no one wants to see round women' (The Telegraph)
Finally, here are a few interesting facts about him:
  • He loves taking photos and often shoots his own press photos.
  • He owns a bookstore in Paris, called 7L, and speaks lots of languages.
  • He is also an art enthusiast. He owns lots of pieces of art and is also really into his music. He is said to own over 100 IPods and he's even a DJ in Grand Theft Auto IV.

Let me know what you think about the biography and about Karl Largerfeld. I think that despite all the controversies, he is still an absolute legend and definitely one of the most influential people in the designing world.

Sherin xx

*Note: all the information was taken from sources across the internet, where the details didn't always match. I tried to cross reference the information as best as I could, so I apoligize for any mistakes here*

Photo credits: Picture with teddy bear


Leah said...

A very well-researched post... Karl is a legend and no amount of controversy will change that which reminds me... Tiger Woods is also a legend and no matter what the tabloids are saying now, he will still be that legend.

Biansta said...

when will people learn... it's iPod not IPod. how hard can that be to memorize...?

The Haute-Shopper said...

He is a genius, no doubt about that, but I think every eccentric will make comments people don't agree with or cause controversy. Don't forget that he also completely insulted Heidi Klum, claiming he had never heard of her and that he only knows high-fashion models like Claudia Schiffer. I hopefully will be featuring his 7L bookstore at one point (his photography studio is in the same building). I had no idea he once worked with Giles Dufour, but it's not surprising, considering he's equally controversial.

Love that pic of the young Karl!

Anonymous said...

I have mixed feelings, he is amazing no doubt about that, his designs are exquisite and his personality is out of this world.

BUT his qualities are not really that nice, and it really turns me off to not like him
when i read the article where he names the top things he could live without, it was non-human like to me.

here is the article

I love the genius of him, but I get very sensitive to how designers are in the way they act and their "moral" standards", it could make or break my like or dislike for the designer.

great post! many people should have a lot of different opinions

Etrapar said...

cool have HERE a Chanel quiz, I think it's fun ^.^

Cafe Fashionista said...

He is such an amazing person - and designer! This is a wonderful post, darling - very in-depth and well-researched. I can't believe that's a photo of him when he was younger - I don't think I've ever seen him sans sunglasses! :)

Jennifer Fabulous said...

This was an absolutely amazing post. I didn't know that much about Karl, so I drank in every fact here. Wow. He is quite a character. Lol. I can't believe he lost 103 pounds to fit into a suit. I wish I had that kind of willpower just to lose a few pounds for bathing suit season! LOL!
I'm not sure I agree with his stance on "fat" models, but he's just a product of the fashion industry...sigh.
What an amazing person!

Couture Carrie said...

Fantastic post! Love Karl and learned lots more about him here!


Tasha said...

Wow, Sherin, I've always wondered about his background, and I think you offered a lot of great information on him! I never heard all those controversial things about him before! Although, he definitely is a legend, and is a great designer, I don't agree with many of the things he has said! I can't believe what he said about using normal size models! Fat mummies? That's terrible! That makes me angry!

Also, I think it's strange how he lies about his age, when even old classmates say when he was really born. That just seems really silly, and I thought only women lie about their age! lol Oh,and why would someone need over a 100 ipods? I don't even have one! : P

It was a fantastic post none the less! Captivating!

Also, thanks for the advise on the money and family issue! You always have helpful tips!

padded-shoulders said...

I completely agree...Karl (ahem I like to pretend we're on first name terms) is proper ledgendary ... oh and I love his face in the fourth picture with the 'Karl who' bag!

Love love love your blog! Am following you!


Rachel said...

Fantastic post, Sherin! It's very interesting to learn more about Karl!

Claire said...

What a jackass!

He's done some very, very fine design work no contest, and more men should certainly wear bathing costumes like the one pictures here.

Someone in his influential position should really check their mouth, though.

Interesting post! I learnt.

The Trendy Fashionista said...

Great Biography! Thanks for sharing :)
-The Trendy Fashionista

Carrie said...

I don't know much about him but I know he's legendary within the fashion world. Great post. I really enjoyed reading his bio.


Hi darling, thanks for the comment, have a nice weekend!!
I still can't believe that HEDI SLIMANE's new fashion line "GALT" is following Check out Maison Chaplin with blogger! yay!


Elaine said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Elaine said...

He is SUCH an interesting character! I think that's why a lot of people like him.

shoeless simone said...

This post was so interesting! I learned many new things.

-Shoeless Simone

Graham I. Haynes said...

Very informative, thank you!
I like that phrase, "intellectual sexiness".

Intrinsically Florrie said...

He is amazingly talented. But I would like him far better without the controversy, it doesn't take away from his wonderful creativeness but he does say some awful things! Geniuses shouldn't get away with such anymore than the rest of us, but he is indeed, still a genius.

Florrie x

Maria Confer said...

This was a great history lesson!! I love learning so much about such an inspiring man.

Cheryl said...

Thanks for these very interesting facts about Karl. Although I like him for his talent and creativity, he's personality to me is so "over the edge".

This is what happens to people who are fawned over/adored by the fashion world.They can do and say anything they want without a care in the world.

The Trendy Fashionista said...


-The Trendy Fashionista

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