The luxury world bids farewell to a fashion icon
It’s been a sad week for the luxury sector, as one of fashion’s last great design icons passed away on Tuesday. Karl Lagerfeld died in Paris after a short illness. His website lists his birthdate as 1938, but he is widely believed to be five years older. However long he lived, there is no disagreement about what he did with the last 36 years of his life, which was spent as creative director at that most chic of fashion houses, Chanel. In that time, he revolutionised not only a stagnant brand, but an entire industry.
Get an insight into Lagerfeld’s thoughts on life and fashion from this 2013 interview: click here
Lagerfeld was appointed to the top spot at Chanel in 1983, ten years after the death of the brand’s eponymous founder, Coco. At that time, Lagerfeld had already made a name for himself, coming up through the ranks under Pierre Balmain in Paris, and working at Fendi and Chloe during the 1960s. He was given complete freedom to revitalise Chanel, as the creative vacuum left by Coco’s death had never been filled – and its owners and executives, like the brand itself, were floundering. Chanel’s current position in the world of high fashion is testament to Lagerfeld’s vision.
While Lagerfeld’s name will always be synonymous with Chanel, his productivity was incredible. He worked on a variety of brands throughout his life, creating collections for LVMH’s Fendi (a core holding in Dominion’s Luxury Fund) and his own label right up until his death. He also worked with high-street clothier H&M long before high- and mid-fashion collaborations were commonplace.
LVMH’s share price has appreciated by 17% so far this year
Source: Yahoo Finance
Understandably, the outpouring of emotion and respect in Mr. Lagerfeld’s wake has been substantial, with major names from fashion and luxury sharing some of their most valued memories of the designer online.
Pier Paolo Righi, the CEO of Mr Lagerfeld’s own brand, described him as a “creative genius”, and a statement from the House of Karl Lagerfeld said he “leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the greatest designers of our time.”
Donatella Versace said that he had inspired many of the world’s top designers, including both her and her late brother Gianni. Anna Wintour, editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, praised his body of work as “breath-taking” and said that “the world lost a giant among men.” She continued: “Karl was brilliant, he was wicked, he was funny, he was generous beyond measure, and he was deeply kind. I will miss him so very much.”
Supermodel Claudia Schiffer said: “What Warhol was to art, he was to fashion; he is irreplaceable. He is the only person who could make black and white colourful.”
Always a colourful – and sometimes controversial – figure, Lagerfeld will be remembered for his wit (“sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”) as well as his wider sense of humour. He had previously described himself as a “caricature” and compared himself to Joan of Arc. His death is a great loss to the luxury world – though the value of his legacy, which lives on, is huge.
Dominion holds LVMH, as well as other companies and brands with which Karl Lagerfeld collaborated, in its Global Trends Luxury Fund.
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