Karl Lagerfeld

Tonie Ong

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Articles on Karl Lagerfeld

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Longevity is rare for any designer, no matter how established he/she is. Since the 20th century, fashion has been so fickle and one trend or look can instantly become obsolete the next day, week, month, or year. People want constant change, especially with what they wear, and they expect designers to adapt as easily. A lot of designers have fallen out of public favor because they failed to evolve season after season. However, there are some that are still working and respected to this day. This rare breed of creatives is not only able to change every once and while but still enthused their own identity into their works every time. A great example of one is Karl Lagerfeld.

Today, no other designer is as respected and revered as Karl Lagerfeld. His works in various houses, as well as his own, continue to fascinate clients and customers and change the fashion landscape. He has one of the most versatile minds in the business, constantly evolving but still staying true to his brand identity. Even with such a rich past, working for the most prominent haute couture houses in the industry, Lagerfeld has kept his own namesake brand alive and relevant. A testament to a true genius in the field.

Karl Lagerfeld through the years

Who is Karl Lagerfeld and How He Impacted the Fashion Industry
Photo: Shutterstock

At a young age, Karl Lagerfeld was already gaining prominence for his skills in fashion design. He won a design competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat in 1955, and through that caught the eye of the most prominent couturiers in Paris at the time. That same year, he was hired by Pierre Balmain to be his assistant, all the while learning more tricks of the trade during his time there. In 1958, he transferred to Jean Patou, where he became the creative director for the haute couture house. However, his first collection was amiss and his tenure at Patou was characterized by bad reviews from the American Fashion press. He then went on to design for other houses, like Roman brand Tiziani and French ready-to-wear pioneer Chloé.

From the 1970’s to today, things changed for the German designer. He got hired by French fashion powerhouse Chanel to be their creative director, a position he still holds to this day. Through Chanel, he gained further prominence and leadership status in the industry, which eventually allowed him to open his own namesake brand. Unlike his works in Fendi and Chanel, where he’s required to incorporate the decades-old houses’ signatures into his collections, Lagerfeld is completely free at his own eponymous label. His designs are much more risque and futuristic, always looking forward and rarely looking at the past for inspiration.

Collaborations

Karl Lagerfeld X Chanel
Photo: Ytimg

Through the years, the Karl Lagerfeld brand has also partnered up with a multitude of other labels and designers to create unique and once-in-a-lifetime collections. One of his first collaborations during the early years of his brand was a denim line with Diesel, called Lagerfeld Gallery by Diesel, released back in 2002. In 2004, it partnered with Swedish fast fashion label H&M for a limited men’s and women’s collection. After just two days after its release, the collection was quickly sold out. It was one of the first instances when a high fashion designer collaborated with a fast fashion company and gave precedence to the Swedish brand’s succeeding high fashion partnerships.

Karl the “Ikonik”

Today, one of the brand’s main lines is “Ikonik,” an array of accessories featuring an animated version of the designer as the central design. A caricature of Lagerfeld’s iconic look of white hair, sleek black and white suit, and imposing sunglasses appears on everything, from purses, wallets, umbrellas, and tags. The designer’s cartoon face also appears on sweaters and sneakers, diversifying the line into menswear as well. Other items include beanie hats, luggage, phone cases, and stickers. The label touched upon one of the most central trends of this generation: logomania. This collection speaks volumes about the fashion veteran’s knowledge to stay afloat and current within fashion’s landscape.

Stylish stripes

Karl stripes

Another part of the brand’s reflection of the designer’s taste is his love for stripes, which was incorporated into another subsidiary line of the label called “Karl Stripes.” Similarly to how his face is featured in “Karl Ikonik,” stripes are everywhere in this collection. From pouches, purses, and tote bags, to caps, phone cases, and keychain. Among the accessories, the stripes are much more vibrant and colorful, while on the garments, classic black and white stripes are the main attraction. From fitted t-shirts, smart casual dresses, and wide pants, stripes can complete a whole day’s wardrobe, according to Karl Lagerfeld.

While it may be difficult for a designer to retain his identity while working on multiple houses, Karl Lagerfeld is a designer completely his own. The Karl Lagerfeld brand is miles apart from the classic Chanel or the sexy Fendi. Through the designer’s own imagination, unshackled by previous heritages, the brand is completely let free carrying his own name. Such is the mark of a true luxury brand, one named Karl Lagerfeld.

Karl Lagerfeld store in Berlin, Germany.
Karl Lagerfeld store in Berlin, Germany. Photo: Shutterstock

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