A true icon of fashion, Karl Lagerfeld, has passed away at 85 years old. Wildly influential, German-born Lagerfeld began his career in the industry after winning a design competition in 1955—a victory that allowed him to become Pierre Balmain’s assistant. During the ’60s he worked with Fendi and Chloe, but it was as creative director of Chanel (from 1983 until his death) that he was best known—and most influential. He had a knack for reimagining classics by adding bold and contemporary touches, perhaps most notably with Chanel’s suits.
Distinguishable for his personal look—black suits, high shirt collars, large sunglasses, fingerless gloves and trademark powdered ponytail—Lagerfeld was also no stranger to controversy. From declaring his beloved cat Choupette as his heir, fat-shaming women, to saying he was “fed up” with the #MeToo movement, Lagerfeld was immediately recognizable, bold and outlandish. But he was also optimistic, pragmatic, generous and a firm believer in the importance of daydreaming. Complex, problematic and fascinating, Lagerfeld was one of the greats.
Back in 2011, we met with Lagerfeld in Paris and he spoke with us about his vision, his insatiable lust for information, and his non-stop attitude toward work.