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Montevideo, March 24th 2019 - 15:37 UTC

Fashion designer superstar Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris aged 85

Wednesday, February 20th 2019 - 08:51 UTC
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Lagerfeld signature ponytail and dark glasses made him an instantly recognizable figure around the world Lagerfeld signature ponytail and dark glasses made him an instantly recognizable figure around the world

Superstar fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died, aged 85, in Paris following a short illness. The German designer, who was the creative director for Chanel and Fendi, was one of the industry's most prolific figures and worked up until his death.

His signature ponytail and dark glasses made him an instantly recognizable figure around the world. Industry heavyweights, including Italian designer Donatella Versace, have issued heartfelt tributes.

“Today the world lost a giant among men,” the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour, said in a statement.

Rumors of Lagerfeld's ill health had swirled for several weeks after he missed a number of events - including Chanel's spring/summer show last month. He died on Tuesday morning after being admitted to hospital the night before, French media report.

As a designer he transformed the fortunes of Chanel, one of the leading names in high fashion, but his work also filtered down to the high street.

Away from his work, Lagerfeld made headlines for a range of provocative, and sometimes offensive, statements.

Born Karl Otto Lagerfeldt in 1933 in pre-war Germany, he changed his original surname from Lagerfeldt, because he believed it sounded “more commercial”.

He emigrated to Paris as a young teenager, and became a design assistant for Pierre Balmain, before working at Fendi and Chloe in the 1960s.

But the designer was best known for his association with the French label Chanel. He began his long career with the fashion house in 1983, a decade after Coco Chanel died.
Lagerfeld's designs brought new life to the label, adding glitz to the prim tweed suits the couture house was known for.

The designer worked tirelessly, simultaneously churning out collections for LVMH's Fendi and his own label, up until his death. He also collaborated with high street brand H&M - before high-end collaborations became more common.

Lagerfeld was known to encouraged new designers, like Victoria Beckham - who has praised him for his kindness. Lagerfeld's own look became famous in his later years - wearing dark suits and leather gloves with a signature white pony-tail and tinted sunglasses.

Lagerfeld said of his appearance: “I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that.” The designer was known for his scathing and provocative comments, famously describing sweatpants as a “sign of defeat”.

However, some of his remarks drew sharp criticism in recent years.

In particular, he sparked outrage by evoking Holocaust as he attacked Germany's response to the migration crisis and for conversational remarks he made about the MeToo movement.

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