Fashion Biography

Karl Lagerfeld, Fashion Designer


Karl Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg in September 1938. A cosmopolitan education and knowledge of languages enabled him to finish his studies in Paris. In 1955 he won the first prize in the contest organized by the secretariat international de la laine (International Wool Association). The coat the young winner designed was produced by Pierre Balmain and at 17 Lagerfeld became the great designer"s assistant. He stayed with him for three years before becoming art director for Jean Patou, where he remained for five satisfying but unusually calm years, for his taste. This relative freedom allowed him to deepen his knowledge in subjects that had passionately interested him for years: history, architecture, music and especially eighteenth century French.

When ready to wear came into its own at the beginning of the 60"s, he plunged into a career as an independent stylist in France, Italy, England and Germany. The concept of fur needed modernization to become a viable element of fashion. So, the House of FENDI called on Lagerfeld a collaboration that continues to this day.

Perfume is as important as fashion foe Lagerfeld, so in 1975 he launched CHLOE ". He became the first great ready to wear designer to brand a scent globally without first having his own designer label. Then followed LAGERFELD "for men in 1978.

PHOTO "in 1991, JAKO "in 1998 and Kapsule, the first fragrance collaboration with Coty group in 2008.

In 1984 he created his own line KARL LAGERFELD ", while continuing both his collaboration with the house of CHANEL, where he was named art director in 1983, and his longstanding collaboration with FENDI. He also signed the new collections for CHLOE from 1992 to 1997.

His constant interest in new experiences led Lagerfeld to illustrate Hans Christian Anderson"s The Emperor"s New Clothes ". He created as well opera costumes for La Scala, the Florence opera house, the Burgtheater of Vienna and for the Salzbourg festival, and the Monte Carlo ballet.

He decided to move behind the lens in 1987, with his first press kit, and from this time on Lagerfeld created his own advertising campaigns. His passion for photography and for books transformed his campaigns into veritable art books (published by Steidl), while continuing photo shoots for prestigious fashion magazines.

The year 1997 marked the end of the LAGERFELD Company. In 1998 he began a new adventure. He launched his own label, LAGERFELD GALLERY.

November 1999 saw the opening of the bookshop 7L ", followed by the publishing company EDITIONS 7L "in October 2000. He had now become publisher and bookshop owner.

In 2000 Lagerfeld changed his look, redefining his image. Willpower and self imposed diet helped him to lose 47 kilograms (103lbs) giving up a style that no longer fitted his personality. He wrote a book THE 3D DIET "(Designer, Doctor, Diet) about his unusual experience. It sold in tens of thousands throughout the world.

In 2004 Lagerfeld designed a collection of 30 models for the giant company, H&M, under the Karl Lagerfeld for H&M "label.

In 2005, Karl Lagerfeld sold its marks and its activities to Tommy Hilfiger, this operation included Lagerfeld Gallery and the other Lagerfeld collections for which he continues to assume the direction of creation. This acquisition did not include his agreements with Chanel and Fendi with which it continues his activities.

2006 Lagerfeld Gallery"s name change to KARL LAGERFELD.

2007 A documentary film is dedicated to him: LAGERFELD CONFIDENTIEL (director: Rodolphe Marconi). It will be revealed during Berlin International Festival.

2008, Karl Lagerfeld enters le Petit Larousse illustre (French dictionary).

As an avid photographer, Lagerfeld often shoots his own press photos, and is sometimes called Kaiser Karl by the press. His personal trademarks include a fan, a long ponytail for his powdered white hair, and sunglasses. He is a uniquely confident man and speaks German, French, English, and Italian.

Lagerfeld is a member of Chambre Syndicale du Pret a Porter in Paris.

Selected Products

Karl Lagerfeld Couture

KL by Karl Lagerfeld

Selected Awards

Neiman Marcus Award (1980)

Economic Data
The Karl Lagerfeld S.A., responsible for products under the Karl Lagerfeld label was bought in 1992 by the British Dunhill Holding Plc group, which is part of the Vedome Group, which again belongs to the Richemont Holding from Switzerland and managed by Lord Douro. The price of the deal was allegedly $26 million. The Vendome Group is also the parent company to Chloe, of which Lagerfeld used to be also head of design. In early 1997, Vendome sold back all rights to the Lagerfeld label to Lagerfeld himself.

Economic information on the Lagerfeld businesses are scarce, there were fashion sales estimated in 1991 to be around $18 million. 80% of sales are said to be gained by exports.

In 1996, there were 230 exclusive Lagefeld boutiques around the world. Next to his own shops, Lagerfeld is sold in other exclusive boutiques and department stores.

Production/ Licenses
Current licenses include men"s wear, neckties, scarves, shoes (Charles Jourdan S.A.), sunglasses, watches and jewelry, furs (Revillon), interior fabrics and wallpapers, and carpets.

In 1996, Lagerfeld licensed a lingerie and beachwear collection to the German lingerie specialist Fxrstenberg. The partnership was ended after just one season, because of different opions towards the styling of the collection.

In 1988, an unsual alliance brought together the German mass market apparell manufacturer Steilmann and Karl Lagerfeld to produce in license his diffusion line called KL by Karl Lagerfeld. In 1996, Lagerfeld arranged with the Italian Gruppo Selene to produce in license a line called Karl Lagerfeld. This movement led to the divorce between Steilmann and Lagerfeld. Starting Fall 1996, the German home order giant Quelle will include the KL by Karl Lagerfeld line in his catalog. Lagerfeld had before experiences with home order retailing from the work with French home order specialist La Redoute. As part of the deal with Quelle, Lagerfeld will also do fashion consulting for the Nxrnberg, Germany based company. Since the collaboration with Quelle seems to be quite successful, the partnership will be extended. It is planned to offer beachwear in the Quelle catalog, which previous was licensed to the German specialist Foxrstenberg.

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By Courtney Lynne
I am an analyst by profession and researching is my passion. I also love to share my knowledge. Contact me on Google + and Twitter. Find us on Google+



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