“I’m very much down to earth, just not this earth.” ―
Karl Lagerfeld, a man of artistic ingenuity, has left the whole fashion industry in shock when news about his death surfaced around different media platforms. It was in February this year that the fashion world mourned the passing of a true iconic fashion designer whose well-celebrated works had changed the history of fashion world forever. His enduring presence is immortalized in the hearts and memory of those who are forever grateful to all his creative contributions. Let’s take a look at Karl Lagerfeld’s legacy in the fashion world.
The Epitome of Refinement
Working in a renowned French fashion brand such as Chanel didn’t make Karl Lagerfeld forget his own German accent. His German root didn’t make it a barrier for him to do what he is always passionate about– that is, to create fashionable and iconic designs. His drive and curiosity were an impelling force that he acquainted himself with outside trends and influences. That is what a true artist does, and that is exactly what Lagerfeld did.
For luxury brands, cultural roots absolutely are essential. Yet, this idea did not go well with Chanel being the embodiment of French fashion, and with Lagerfeld, a German, who was the brand’s Creative Director in 1983. Just as how Leonardo da Vinci gave himself in service to the King of France during the Renaissance, Karl Lagerfeld also revived Chanel’s reputation as France’s most iconic brand when French fashion reached its peak.
It was Lagerfeld who saved Chanel in 1983 when many had considered it dead. As the brand’s chief designer, Lagerfeld was determined to renew Chanel’s relevance in the fashion industry when it had almost fallen to obscurity. He brought Chanel back to its former glory and even to greater heights when he transformed the brand by putting modern touches on its designs.
What did Karl Lagerfeld exactly do to give back to Chanel the recognition it deserved? The answer lies in his creative prowess to go beyond the conventional fashion consciousness. He was a man who is willing to shake up status quo just to keep the name Coco Chanel highly relevant.
Lagerfeld’s legacy is not only limited to his well-celebrated works. He, being a highly esteemed man in the fashion industry, was also due to the inspiration he gave to many other talented designers who transformed their own fashion institutions into an epitome of elegance and class. World renowned designers such as Michele Alessandro of Gucci and John Galliano of Dior are among those whose fashion careers are forever changed by Lagerfeld.
Chanel Beyond Fashion
Lagerfeld believed that the luxury brands of today have to leave its specialist area and should venture into other artistic attempts – attempts that have not been made by the brand before. To accomplish this, they should maintain a close connection with artistic, musical, photographic, and cultural circles. In today’s fashion, photography particularly has been very influential in the marketing of designer brands to social media sites, thereby creating a large market.
“Don’t look to the approval of others for your mental stability”
In a generation of millennials hungry for surprise and creativity, designers need to go beyond the extra mile in order to satisfy this hunger, and Lagerfeld was amongst the first gifted designers to create branded content mainly for the millennials. He expanded Chanel’s sense of fashion design by incorporating fashion with luxury in a way that has never been done before.
Having done all of that, Karl never referred himself as an actual “artist”. It was for some practical intention, and not for some acts of modesty. Lagerfeld’s usual justification for such is that his role was to design handbags and sell them, and if the sales do not satisfy shareholders, he would not be keeping his work contract. This reasoning of Lagerfeld was his sort of message to those other designers who tried to elevate their status to that of an “artist” in order to increase their sense of importance. For Lagerfeld, luxury all boils down to business.
A Man with a Sustained Vision
This is Lagerfeld’s final legacy. Lagerfeld is forever remembered for reinventing the fashion world. It was his vision to reinvent pieces that are classy yet edgy. Such vision is manifested in his words saying he will “continue to embrace the present and invent the future.” For that, Chanel has earned more money under Lagerfeld’s creative directorship. Chanel has largely profited over Lagerfeld’s high-end luxury creations which surpassed even the profits acquired by large consolidated fashion groups. According to Karl, he had nothing to do with the marketing of the brand. He had not even attended any business meetings with the brand’s shareholders. What he only did was to rely on his creative instincts, and that was exactly his unparalleled contribution to the brand’s huge success