Karl Lagerfeld – February 19 – the day he left. This day is that day when everything is stopped. It’s not about fashion, it’s not about genius who died at age 85, it’s the day when era of fashion, era of 50 years of Haute Couture and excellence has finished.
These are not just big words. Karl Lagerfeld represented not just fashion, he was not just King or Icon of fashion world. He was genius, who represented excellence, who left immense legacy of savoir-faire.
I, Eleonora de Gray, Editor-in-Chief of Runway Magazine, refused to publish collections of last season of Ready-to-Wear Spring Summer 2019, presented in Paris in September 2019. Talentless, incompetent, so-called “artistic directors” of big houses like Louis Vuitton, Dior or Balmain presented copies, only copies of talented designers. Even for not professional public it was so recognizable. Unable to create, lacking simple knowledge about what being creative means, these big houses officially opened “Era of Zara”. Zara is the first mass-market clothes brand, who shamelessly for years took designs of great designers and reproduced them “cheap”. Today these big houses go for cheap copying and make it “expensive”. That is how new era of copy began.
That is why it was so important to have Karl Lagerfeld with us, as an opposing force – great creative force, who was no less than one of the most productive genius in this world, a fountain of creativity. That is why it is such great loss today. Yes, I’m concerned, like many others, who met Karl Lagerfeld, and who had an enormous impact on the life. It was “before and after”.Karl Lagerfeld was not just the great man, he was also one of the most kind and generous men known to me, who was the first one who kindly gave his hand not only to me but to many young companies and talented people. It was an imminence impact on my life and existence of Runway Magazine, when Karl Lagerfeld kindly accepted my invitation and came to our party in WHSmith in Paris on rue Rivoli, in July 2013. He came, he gave his support, he gave his images because he liked what we do, we liked our quality and creative work we showed in Runway Magazine.
In the last 5 years it was never easy to get trough to him again. We were sending to his office every printed issue, and ones in a while we heard trough his assistant his opinion or that he kept our magazine on his table for couple of months. Such an honor. And it was probably a destiny that I had a great chance to have few minutes with Karl Lagerfeld again last year in November 24 during official ceremony of lightning of Christmas lights on Champs-Elysees. I was touched to tears, this man who’s meeting thousands new people every month, recognized me. He shook our hands and wished us to keep good creative work…Who was this genius, who changed this world. Karl Lagerfeld was born in 10 September 1933. He is known as the creative director of house Chanel, who he took and saved from peril in 1983. Karl said that at that time “Chanel was like sleeping beauty in enchanted forest…. and She was snoring”. He was also creative director of the Italian fashion house Fendi, and his own eponymous fashion label. Over the decades, he collaborated on a variety of fashion and art-related projects.
Karl Lagerfeld started his career as Pierre Balmain’s assistant after winning the coats category in a design competition in 1955. In 1958, after three years at Balmain, he moved to Jean Patou where he designed two haute couture collections per year for five years. His first collection was shown in a two-hour presentation in July 1958, but he used the name Roland Karl, rather than Karl Lagerfeld. The United Press International noted: “The firm’s brand new designer, 25-year-old Roland Karl, showed a collection which stressed shape and had no trace of last year’s sack.” His skirts for the spring 1960 season were the shortest in Paris, and the collection was not well received. For his late 1960 collection, he designed special little hats, pancake shaped circles of satin, which hung on the cheek. He called them “slaps in the face.”
In 1963, he began designing for Tiziani, a Roman couture house founded that year by Evan Richards of Jacksboro, Texas. It began as couture and then branched out into ready-to-wear, bearing the label “Tiziani-Roma—Made in England.” Lagerfeld and Richards sketched the first collection in 1963 together. Lagerfeld designed for the company until 1969. Elizabeth Taylor was a fan of the label; she referred to Evan as Evan Tiziani, which was, of course, not his family name, and began wearing the outfits in August 1966. Gina Lollobrigida, Doris Duke, and Princess Marcella Borghese were also customers while Lagerfeld was designing the line.
Karl Lagerfeld began to freelance for French fashion house Chloé in 1964, at first designing a few pieces each season. As more and more pieces were incorporated, he soon designed the entire collection. In 1970, he also began a brief design collaboration with Roman haute-couture house Curiel. Lagerfeld’s first collection there was described as having a “drippy drapey elegance” designed for a “1930s cinema queen.” The Curiel mannequins all wore identical short-cropped blonde wigs. He also showed black velvet shorts, worn under a black velvet ankle-length cape. Here it is recognizable style of Karl Lagerfeld.
His Chloé collection for spring 1973 (shown in October 1972) garnered headlines for offering something both “high fashion and high camp.” He showed loose Spencer jackets and printed silk shirt-jackets. He designed something he called a “surprise” skirt, which was in an ankle-length, pleated silk, so loose that it hid the fact it was actually pants.
From 1965, he collaborated with Italian fashion house Fendi, designing furs, clothing, and accessories.
In 1983 Karl Lagerfeld became creative director of Chanel fashion house. It was he who integrated the interlocked “CC” monograph of Coco Chanel into a style pattern for the House of Chanel.
In 2002, Karl Lagerfeld asked Renzo Rosso, the founder of Diesel, to collaborate with him on a special denim collection for the Lagerfeld Gallery. Rosso said: “I am honored to have met this fashion icon of our time. Karl represents creativity, tradition and challenge”. He collaborated with H&M, which, on 12 November 2004, offered a limited range of Lagerfeld clothes for men and women, in certain outlets. From 2004 until 2017 Karl Lagerfeld collaborated with many brands for capsule collections like Melissa (shoes), H&M in 2016 and many others.
Karl Lagerfeld was also a photographer. He produced series of photos of models and celebrities. He photographed every collection and created catalogs. Runway Magazine several times published selection of Karl Lagerfeld photos. He was also philosopher… he was genius. His famous quotes, like the most precious pearls, known today almost to everyone.
“Improvise. Become more creative. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Evolution is the secret for the next step.”
“I think tattoos are horrible. It’s like living in a Pucci dress full-time.”
“Sweatpants are sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”
“I’m a kind of fashion nymphomaniac who never gets an orgasm.”
“Don’t dress to kill, dress to survive.”
“Trendy is the last stage before tacky.”
“When you hear designers complaining about the challenge of their profession, you have to say: don’t get carried away – it’s only dresses.”
“Life is not a beauty contest, some people are great. What I hate is nasty, ugly people… the worst is ugly, short men. Women can be short, but for men it is impossible. It is something that they will not forgive in life… they are mean and they want to kill you.”
“You have to live your life according to your ideas. Spend all your money and live life in line with what you are fighting for. I hate it when rich people try to be communists. I think that’s obscene.”
Merci Karl pour votre talent unique.Merci pour votre soutien à RUNWAY MAGAZINE ®
Merci de nous laisser cet immense héritage de savoir-faire, d’excellence.
Merci pour vos mots durant notre récent échange.
Aujourd’hui nous vous pleurons, nous n’arrivons pas à respirer… Mais nous savons que vous êtes là.
Eleonora de Gray, Editor-in-Chief and RUNWAY MAGAZINE team with great sorrow and LOVE forever