The lasting influence of Karl Lagerfeld, beyond the fashion week



Written by Alyssa Coscarelli, CNN

The late Karl Lagerfeld will be remembered for making Chanel the emblematic brand it is today, by popularizing the "double-C" logo, without which the couture house can not be imagined. And as one of the most prolific designers in the world, he has also transcended Chanel to assert himself as a full-fledged personality.

True to his reputation for diligence, Lagerfeld seemed to work tirelessly in his later years. While he was not able to nod to the Chanel show in Paris last month (sparking first rumors of poor health), he would have, in his final weeks, prepared his team at Fendi for his next fashion show in Milan. .

But while the fashion industry mourns the loss of Lagerfeld, who died on Tuesday, it's important to note his legacy off the field of fashion.

In memory of Karl Lagerfeld

The designer's sphere of influence extended well beyond the tracks, and his multi-faceted capabilities spanned everything from brand to photography to filmmaking. Once quoted, he said that it was necessary to "embrace the present and invent the future", and his collaborations that pushed the boundaries were also ahead of their time.

As colleagues, models, friends and fans influence each other's memories and praise, we take the time to recognize the lasting impact of Karl Lagerfeld on all sectors; a legacy that survives the trends of clothing and fashion.

Advanced collaborations

Collaborations have become an essential means for brands to remain relevant and dynamic – and in recent years we have seen designers and creative people fill the gap between different sectors to create highly sought-after products.

Clothing presentation at the launch of Karl Lagerfeld's new collection for H & M haute couture brand in 2004.

Clothing presentation at the launch of Karl Lagerfeld's new collection for H & M haute couture brand in 2004. Credit: Stuart Franklin / Getty Images Europe / Getty Images

What you may not realize is that Lagerfeld has paved the way for collaborations to become the pillar that they are today. It is perhaps the most memorable that he is responsible for H & M's first hugely popular series of collaborations in 2004. And since he's been working with Lagerfeld, H & M has continued the tactics with many high-end labels from Moschino and Kenzo to Comme des Garcons and Stella McCartney.

Building on the success of this first capsule collection sold in minutes, Lagerfeld then collaborated with the watchmaker Fossil, the department store Macy's, the makeup brand Shu Uemura and even the drinks giant Coca Cola in the following years (offer more affordable and more affordable). ways to buy his creations). There is even a Barbie doll Karl Lagerfeld inspired by the iconic style of the designer.

Collaboration may seem like the new standard in the current marketing landscape, but 15 years ago, Lagerfeld innovated.

Make a show

At a time when he was pushing the fashion sector to work with other sectors, Lagerfeld wanted fashion shows to be more than just clothes.

It is now common for labels to offer the public memorable or, better yet, shareable experiences. But before the advent of Instagram, Lagerfeld had a length ahead of other designers in creating cinematic decors and moments worthy of a title.

The thematic exhibitions of his Chanel mandate have all been made with the greatest care of photography, the larger-than-life carousel built at the Grand Palais for its autumn-winter 2008 collection, with more recent and delirious themes such Chanel grocery store. store, airport terminal and even space station (with a life-size rocket).

The models present Chanel's creations during the Fall / Winter 2017-2018 women's show at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2017.

The models present Chanel's creations during the Fall / Winter 2017-2018 women's show at the Grand Palais in Paris in 2017. Credit: PATRICK KOVARIK / AFP / AFP / Getty Images

Of course, other fashion houses have followed suit in recent years, setting up their own sets of immersive shows. Louis Vuitton took over the interior-exterior decor of Niterói's contemporary art museum in Rio de Janeiro, Calvin Klein covered his parade with a thick layer of popcorn in 2016 and Dior's brands at Opening Ceremony opted for plays or performances compared to traditional parades. .

And that's Lagerfeld – alongside perhaps Alexander McQueen – to whom one can credit the credit for instigating the unspoken competition that can create the most memorable show experience. .

Become a brand

In addition to being the creative force of Chanel and Fendi, Lagerfeld has become a distinct brand.

As soon as you saw the white ponytail, the sharp suit, the high-necked shirt and the famous black sunglasses, you knew that it was him. Part of what this creative icon did so well was, finally, just that: Be an icon.

Although Lagerfeld managed to keep his privacy largely private, he did not fear the public's attention. He was openly homosexual, spoke frankly about his weight loss and often admired his only true love: his cat, Choupette (who gained fame on the Internet, collaborations and a respectable Instagram.)

Beyond design, Lagerfeld also played a role in photography, making numerous campaigns for Chanel and others. He directed a short film starring Keira Knightley and even played a voice role in a French animated film. He was also known for his love of books, which he had collected in a vast personal library, and for having created his own publication.

Lagerfeld has always respected his image and his uniform, setting a precedent for other designers to be seen as characters facing the audience rather than behind the scenes geniuses.

This seems all too relevant at a time when people are increasingly feeling the pressure of the Internet and social media to manage their own brands – and express our views, our uniform, ourselves as a whole – of similar way.

Harnessing the power of stars

Wearing his trademark uniform, Lagerfeld has often been photographed with other celebrities, some of whom may thank him for putting it on the map.

From designers Tom Tom and Diane Von Furstenberg to models Audrey Marnay and Claudia Schiffer, the stars paid tribute to the designer, explaining that he played an important role in their success.

"Karl was my magic dust, he turned me from a shy German into a supermodel," Schiffer told his Instagram. "He taught me fashion, style and survival in the fashion industry.

"What Warhol was to art, he was fashionable, he is irreplaceable, he is the only one who can make black and white colorful, and I will be eternally grateful to him."

And no red carpet seems complete without a Chanel look or two: Jennifer Aniston, Dakota Johnson, Sarah Jessica Parker and Margot Robbie, to name a few. In fact, it's hard to name a prominent actor who has not donned one of Karl's creations.

In recent years, Lagerfeld and Chanel have hosted young talents in Hollywood and in the music industry. The star of the K-pop, G-Dragon, was ranked first and Azalea Banks dropped a song at a Chanel night in Tokyo. Young models such as Lily Rose-Depp and Kaia Gerber, who have worked closely with Lagerfeld and whose popularity has since increased considerably, have also paid tribute.

Lagerfeld's recognition was undoubtedly the ultimate seal of approval of haute couture; if you could work with Karl, you could work with anyone. His influence as a kingmaker lasted decades, ages and different industries – it was as if everything he touched became gold.


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