In Memoriam: Karl Lagerfeld, 1933 - 2019

February 21, 2019 | Bill V.

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You may have heard that designer and bon vivant Karl Lagerfeld just died? He was the creative force behind Fendi, a revitalized Chanel and his own eponymous label. He was also known for his own unique personal style (hair in ponytail, dark glasses, fan etc.) and his development and close relationships with super models. 

Designer Karl Lagerfeld 1988 Toronto Star Archives photo by Bernard Weil
Designer Karl Lagerfeld, 1988. Toronto Star Photo Archive. Photo by Bernard Weil.


Lagerfeld is most closely associated with the House of Chanel, founded by Coco Chanel

Chanel  catwalk  the complete Karl Lagerfeld collections

Chanel: Catwalk the Complete Karl Lagerfeld Collections.

"A comprehensive and captivating overview of Karl Lagerfeld's Chanel creations, featuring more than 150 collections presented through original catwalk photography. The collections of Karl Lagerfeld have made headlines and dictated trends in the world of fashion ever since his first show for Chanel in 1983. This superbly illustrated and lavishly produced publication ... depicts every Chanel collection created by Lagerfeld (more than 150 in all), providing a unique opportunity to chart the development of one of the world's most influential fashion brands and discover some rarely seen collections."

Chanel  the Karl Lagerfeld campaigns

Chanel: The Karl Lagerfeld Campaigns.

"Organized chronologically, Chanel: The Karl Lagerfeld Campaigns includes a carefully curated selection of photographs that showcase hundreds of spectacular clothes worn by the top fashion models and personalities of each era. Women including Christy Turlington, Linda Evangelista, and Kate Moss are photographed in glamorous locations such as Coco Chanel?s Paris apartment, the French Riviera, and Rodeo Drive. Filled with more than 600 photographs, plus an essay by fashion writer Patrick Mauriès, the book offers an unrivaled overview of the house of Chanel as seen through the eyes and lens of Karl Lagerfeld himself."


Karl Lagerfield's Chanel suit; $3;250 Toronto Star Photo Archive 1991 photographer Colin McConnell
Karl Lagerfield's Chanel suit; $3,250. Toronto Star Photo Archive, 1991. Photo by Colin McConnell.


Second floor  the private apartment of Mademoiselle Chanel  31 Rue Cambon  Paris

Second Floor: The Private Apartment of Mademoiselle Chanel: 31 Rue Cambon, Paris.

"Coco Chanel's secret world-exactly as she had left it at her death in 1971. Taylor-Johnson captures the mysterious, eerie presence of Coco's ornaments and furniture: a golden lion, a bejewelled birdcage, leather-bound books, Chinese lacquer screens, crystal chandeliers. Ultimately we are left with a sense of beautiful emptiness-Coco's touch is everywhere, but everywhere is haunted by her absence."

The beautiful fall  Lagerfeld  Saint Laurent  and glorious excess in 1970s Paris

The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris.

"Alicia Drake writes about the dramatic collision and rivalry between two titanic geniuses, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld, whose clashes sparked that tumultuous decade. Americans came to Paris in droves - from Andy Warhol and Jerry Hall to Bianca Jagger and Jessica Lange -- to be part of this irresistible moment. Others came just to catch sight of Karl Lagerfeld strutting around the cafes in his high heels and furs. Drake vividly captures the stunning highs and heartbreaking lows, the glorious achievements and dramas of an era when style reigned in the most glamorous of cities."


Designer Karl Lagerfeld with Chanel house model Ines de La Fressarge Toronto Star Photo Archives  photographer Bernard Weil
Designer Karl Lagerfeld with Chanel house model Ines de La Fressange. Toronto Star Photo Archive. Photo by Bernard Weil.

See here for more items about or by model and fashion icon Ines de La Fressange.


In addition to being a fashion designer, Lagerfeld was also a gifted photographer and had a very discerning eye.

Karl Lagerfeld  off the record.

Karl Lagerfeld, Off the Record.

"This is Karl Lagerfeld's own album of the photographic stories and sequences that he has created over the last eight years. Shot in black and white, often with models and costumes, his photographs are at once stylish, sensuous, literate, and full of fantasy and desire."

See also these titles:


Supermodels Nadege and Claudia Schiffer  right  were among the star-studded cast at Karl Lagerfeld's Fendi Show 1991 Toronto Star Photo Archives photographer Andrew Stawicki
Supermodels Nadege and Claudia Schiffer (right) were among the star-studded cast at Karl Lagerfeld's Fendi Show, 1991. Toronto Star Photo Archive. Photo by Andrew Stawicki.


Metamorphoses of an American  a cycle of youth 2003-2008

Metamorphoses of an American: A Cycle of Youth 2003-2008,

"In Metamorphoses of an American, Karl Lagerfeld documents the physical and emotional development of Brad Kroenig, the world's most sought-after male model, ranked number one at at the time of this printing. Lagerfeld discovered Kroenig in 2003, making his first photographs of the young man in Biarritz; since then, he has diligently observed Kroenig through the photographic lens, month by month. Since the time of this first Lagerfeld photo shoot, Kroenig has been featured in almost every major designer's advertising campaign and/or fashion shows ... and on almost every fashion magazine cover. In this volume, through hundreds of photographs taken inside and outside the world of fashion, Lagerfeld explores Kroenig's evolution from a young "All-American Boy" into a professional model, a man conscious of the subtleties of facial and corporeal expression."


Konkret Abstrakt Gesehen

Konkret Abstrakt Gesehen.

"This volume collects new architectural photographs by Karl Lagerfeld, who has now amassed a spectacular oeuvre in this field, including, among others, his superb images of recent and celebrated buildings by Zaha Hadid (one of his favorite architects working today) and Tadao Ando. Central to Lagerfeld's approach are the architectonic details of these buildings; the title "Konkret Abstrakt Gesehen" ("Concrete Seen Abstractly") conveys this guiding premise of his vision. For he sees architecture as not only functional, but as a source of abstract pattern, forms, lines and textures."

Paris photo by Karl Lagerfeld

Paris Photo.

"Paris Photo is the world's largest art fair dedicated to photography and annually attracts thousands of artists, professionals, collectors and enthusiasts to Paris' Grand Palais--this year from 9 to 12 November. Over 180 galleries and publishers present a comprehensive historical panorama of photography, from vintage prints to the latest contemporary works and everything in between. But how are we to best navigate this almost overwhelming photographic bounty? Paris Photo by Karl Lagerfeld provides the answer by presenting Karl Lagerfeld's personal selection of his favorite photos from the thousands on show at this year's fair. We are thus able to "visit" Paris Photo as if in Lagerfeld's own company, and enjoy his curated perspective that is shaped by his decades of experience as a photographer, photobook publisher and book dealer. Lagerfeld's chosen photos will also be indicated at Paris Photo itself, allowing us to wander the fair through Lagerfeld's eyes."


Karl Lagerfeld Toronto Star Photo Archive 1984 photographer Erin Combs
Karl Lagerfeld, 1984. Toronto Star Photo Archive. Photo by Erin Combs.


A quirky, little known fact about Lagerfeld: he lost a considerable amount of weight, 93 pounds in 2001, using a diet especially created for him. 

I'll have what she's having  my adventures in celebrity dieting

I'll Have What She's Having: My Adventures in Celebrity Dieting.

"A hilarious look at the eating habits of the fit and famous."


Lagerfeld embraced his celebrity status and modern culture. He had a very active Instagram account with over 5.5 million followers.  Even his cat Choupette has an Instagram account with over 240,000 followers. Choupette stands to inherit money from Lagerfeld's estate. 

Choupette Instagram Account



I leave the last word to Lagerfeld himself.

The world according to Karl  the wit and wisdom of Karl Lagerfeld

The World According to Karl: The Wit and Wisdom of Karl Lagerfeld.

"Karl Lagerfeld's quick wit and silver tongue are as notorious as Chanel's quilted handbag. This book is a cornucopia of his Karlisms: cultivated, unpredictable, provocative, sometimes shocking, but always impossible to ignore. Karl Lagerfeld is a modern master of couture. While simultaneously running Chanel, Fendi, and his own eponymous fashion house, he has consistently re-invented trends on the catwalk and in the street for half a century. "