From the Archives: Karl Lagerfeld’s Most Memorable Moments Through Photos

Karl Lagerfeld’s influence in the fashion realm is incomparable.

The designer, who died today at age 85, was near-synonymous with Chanel, working also for Fendi and his eponymous brand. But apart from his design, Lagerfeld also developed a mystique around himself — becoming known for his signature sunglasses, his obsession with Diet Coke and his off-color quotes about style and pop culture.

Of course, his curated image took a while to develop — and early images of Lagerfeld often show him sans opaque shades.

Karl Lagerfeld, no glasses, Portrait of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld in pinstriped suitKarl Lagerfeld, Paris
A 1984 portrait of Karl Lagerfeld with no sunglasses.
CREDIT: Penske Media/Shutterstock

Lagerfeld’s career in fashion began in 1965, when the young West German was hired by French label Chloe. He became creative director of Fendi, a title he held ever since, the same year. Minus an eight-year absence in the ’80s, Lagerfeld worked with Chloe until 1992, crafting a reputation for designs that didn’t take themselves too seriously and runway shows that never failed to entertain.

Designer Karl Lagerfeld at work in his atelier in Paris. Chloe by Karl Lagerfeld(Chloe) Karl Lagerfeld, Paris - Paris, Paris - 12 Feb 1977
Karl Lagerfeld at work on Chloe designs in his atelier in Paris in 1977.
CREDIT: Fairchild Archive/Shutterstock

The fashion legend became creative director of Chanel in 1983, where he turned the French brand into a massive entity with billions of dollars in annual revenue.

LAGERFELD Chanel fashion house designer Karl Lagerfeld acknowledges applause after he presented the 1998 Spring Summer ready-to-wear collection in ParisFRANCE FASHION CHANEL, PARIS, France
Karl Lagerfeld acknowledges applause at the spring ’98 Chanel show.
CREDIT: Michel Euler/Shutterstock

Lagerfeld was known for his ability to find muses throughout his career — from big name supermodels like Cindy Crawford, Claudia Schiffer and Linda Evangelista during the ’90s to current famous faces like Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner and Kristen Stewart.

Cara Delevingne and Karl Lagerfeld in the front rowChanel show, Spring Summer 2016, Haute Couture, Paris Fashion Week, France - 26 Jan 2016
Cara Delevingne and Karl Lagerfeld in the front row Chanel couture show for spring ’16.
CREDIT: Swan Gallet/Shutterstock

While Lagerfeld’s eponymous label never gained as much notoriety as Chanel and Fendi, he undoubtedly turned his likeness into a selling point. The icon published a 2002 book titled “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet” about how he lost 92 pounds. He worked also as a photographer, taking editorial images for publications like Harper’s Bazaar and V, as well as snapping campaign photos for the houses he directed.

KARL LAGERFELD AND STELLA TENNANTAutumn Winter Fashion Shows, Paris, France - 1995
Karl Lagerfeld with model Stella Tennant backstage at his fall ’95 fashion show in Paris pre-weight loss.
CREDIT: Shutterstock

The Karl Lagerfeld brand garnered recent buzz with his Karl x Kaia capsule collection, designed in collaboration with 17-year-old supermodel Kaia Gerber.

Kaia Gerber and Karl LagerfeldKarl x Kaia collaboration capsule collection, Spring Summer 2019, Paris Fashion Week, France - 02 Oct 2018
Kaia Gerber and Karl Lagerfeld at a party celebrating their Karl x Kaia collaboration capsule collection in October 2018.
CREDIT: Swan Gallet/Shutterstock

Illness prevented the fashion stalwart from attending his most recent couture show for Chanel, and his final appearance at a runway show for the label came in December, when he took his bow alongside successor Virginie Viard at the Métiers d’Art show.

Virgine Viard, Karl Lagerfeld and Hudson Kroenig on the catwalkChanel Metiers d'Art 2018-2019 show, Runway, New York, USA - 04 Dec 2018
(L-R): Virgine Viard, Karl Lagerfeld and Hudson Kroenig on the catwalk at the Chanel Metiers d’Art show in December 2018.
CREDIT: Masato Onoda/Shutterstock

Click through the gallery to see more images of the legendary designer over the years.

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