Manolo Blahnik, Jeffrey Kalinsky & More on How Icon Karl Lagerfeld Revolutionized Fashion

He was a singular force. The legendary Karl Lagerfeld died today in Paris at age 85, according to Chanel, the fashion house he has helmed since 1983.

Here, top fashion players sound off on his prolific career, electric personality and lasting contributions.

Manolo Blahnik

“Karl and I met in the mid ’70s, and we became friends immediately. He was so generous, so much fun, and I was in awe of his wit and spirit. We bonded immensely over our shared passion for books and the written word. His intellect and thirst for knowledge was extraordinary. The amount of work you achieved in your life, Karl, was gargantuan and also the pleasure you derived from it. May you rest in peace, dear Karl.”

Jeffrey Kalinsky, founder of Jeffrey and VP, designer fashion director, Nordstrom

“Karl Lagerfeld was one of the greatest designers of my lifetime. Karl’s vision was like no other. He has left the industry changed in a way no other has done.”

Tracy Margolies, chief merchant, Saks Fifth Avenue

“Karl Lagerfeld’s impact on fashion and the entire industry is indescribable. His creativity, his endurance, his genius and his prolific contributions inspire us all. His legacy will live on and on.”

Samuele Failli, designer

“When I was working at Alaïa, I went to see a footwear factory that belonged to Chanel. The reception area was entirely covered with his drawings of shoes, the special watercolors he does in those beautiful pastels. The amazing thing about Karl Lagerfeld was that he was in control of absolutely everything. Every single idea always came directly from him. People saw him as a god. He was the king for all designers. We all wanted to work at Chanel. His death is a great loss.”

Nicolò Beretta, designer, L’Autre Chose and Giannico

In the few years that I have been part of the fashion industry, I have had the opportunity to meet some of its biggest names, whom I call the ‘rock stars’ of my world. Unfortunately, Karl Lagerfeld was not one of them, and I will forever regret this. He has always been one of my greatest inspirations — not only as a fashion designer but also as a lifestyle icon. His impact on the fashion world has been huge, as he invented the concept of ‘rebranding’ at Chanel and Fendi. He is a true genius I will miss forever.”

Adam Petrick, global director of brand and marketing, Puma

“With Karl Lagerfeld, we have lost one of the most recognizable faces in fashion, a man who defined what it was to be cool for many decades. Puma is proud to have launched its first collection with the Karl Lagerfeld brand in 2018, and a second part of this collaboration will be available this year. Our thoughts go out to the friends and family of Karl Lagerfeld, as well as all the people he inspired in the course of his impressive career.”

Gherardo Felloni, creative director, Roger Vivier

“I have always admired Karl Lagerfeld’s sense of freedom and his intelligence, which have driven him to do extraordinary work in the fashion industry.”

Ines de la Fressange, face of Roger Vivier

“Karl hated nostalgia. He had a great sense of humor. Once he said: ‘There will be no burial … I’d rather die!’ I will miss him, his quotes, his talent, his culture. I lost a mentor but above all a friend.”

Raquel Metz Scherer, VP of marketing, Melissa

“Mr. Lagerfeld revolutionized the fashion industry, and calling him an icon is definitely the least we can say. He inspired and set the bar for an entire industry to constantly evolve and to always be better. He was one of the original innovators. Mr. Lagerfeld’s legacy is a testament to what the creative process is all about: Dare to try new things and never stop growing. Evolution is the key to life and the key to design. I don’t think there is a designer out there who would not cite his decades of work as influential in their own inspiration. Mr. Lagerfeld embodied exactly our brand’s mission: to bridge fashion and reality. He was so generous on sharing a little bit of his legacy with Melissa. The shoes themselves were so impressive, and we couldn’t be more honored to have had him add his mark to our history.”

Holli Rogers, CEO, Browns

“The talent, the genius, the opinion, the profile and the irreverence of Karl Lagerfeld will be forever remembered and forever cherished.”


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Fashion Legend Karl Lagerfeld Is Dead at 85

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