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The Fashion Industry Mourns the Life and Legacy of Karl Lagerfeld

The Chanel Creative Director passed away in Paris at the age of 85.

Karl Lagerfeld, with his face-concealing sunglasses, silver ponytail and fingerless leather gloves, was one of the most recognizable figures in the fashion world. As the Creative Director of Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous brand, he was also considered among the industry’s most prolific—and arguably, its most outspoken.

This morning, as the news of his death reached his family, friends and fans, the fashion industry took to social media to share memories of the iconic and controversial designer. Below, we gather sentiments of gratitude, heartbreak and respect and from his peers, muses and collaborators.

Dior, Fashion Brand

“All of us at the House of Dior are deeply saddened by news of Karl Lagerfeld’s passing. He will be greatly missed by everyone in the fashion world. @MrKimJones, Artistic Director for men’s collections, said: ‘I am deeply moved to hear of Karl Lagerfeld’s death. He came to my first show for Dior. His creative vision and unique talent will always be an extraordinary inspiration for generations to come. As will his way of working with his teams, building them up with profound intelligence and a sense of humor that was his alone. The fashion world will miss him greatly, and of course my thoughts are with his colleagues who doubtless are heartbroken today.'”

Marc Jacobs, Fashion Designer 

Waking up to a world without Karl. So sad. And strange. He was a great inspiration to me, and, undeniably a unique and extraordinary talent. RESPECT. Rest In Peace KL ?

Bella Hadid, Model 

“Nothing feels right a loss for words and so heartbroken by the loss of Karl. His humor, wit , love and passion for fashion will live on forever. Thank you for the inspiration that you gave to this world and for all of the hearts that you touched in the process. Every time I saw you it felt like the first time & I will miss your hugs so much. I feel so lucky to have been in your presence. Sending my love to the Lagerfeld family and to all closest to him. I am so sorry. We all love you so much .? there are so many things I wish I could say to you but for now I will say goodbye… Rest In Peace KL❤️”

Linda Evangelista, Model

“? Karl… Great love of my life.?”

Lily-Rose Depp, Actress & Chanel Beauty Campaign Star

“Cher Karl, que dire pour exprimer à quel point vous allez nous manquer. The world will never know another force like you. My heart is so heavy today, but so full of gratitude for all that you have taught and done for me. Your kindness, humour, and loyalty will live on in the hearts of those who knew you and your genius will live on forever. I feel so lucky to have been able to work with you so closely, but even luckier to have known your heart and incredible spirit. I will hold every moment spent with you so dear. Words can’t express how much your belief in me has impacted every aspect of my life; it is a gift I could never thank you enough for. You truly made my dreams come true. Thinking of my Chanel family today and all those who knew and loved Karl ❤️ Karl, on vous aime. Merci, merci, merci. Vous êtes éternel.”

Victoria Beckham, Fashion Designer

“So incredibly sad to hear this. Karl was a genius and always so kind and generous to me both personally and professionally. RIP ?x vb”

Donatella Versace, Fashion Designer

“Karl your genius touched the lives of so many, especially Gianni and I. We will never forget your incredible talent and endless inspiration. We were always learning from you.”

Olivier Rousteing, Creative Director of Balmain

“It was shot by you ? How one can describe with words losing the person he looks up to and aspires the most, source of inspiration and motivation. A true legend that never played by the rules but also set most of the ones people follow today. A person that put his heart so much into his work that the world fell in love with him for generations. You have been a school for all of us, you will always be present, reminding and defining what fashion is. Has been an honor to meet you. Au revoir à un vrai Monsieur, nous t’aimerons pour toujours.”

Alexa Chung, Model & Former Chanel Ambassador 

“Rest in peace, Karl. I remember being so scared to interview you and yet you were in fact incredibly witty and generous. Thank you for inviting me to some of the most glamorous experiences of my life, it was an honour to know you. Oh yeah and thanks for the dry shampoo tip, will always think of you as I powder my wig. ❤️”

Kaia Gerber, Model 

“this one hurts to write. my dearest Karl, you have taught me things that I am eternally grateful for. I cannot put into words how lucky we all are to have been gifted your vision. your girls love you so much. the world is more beautiful now because of you. thank you for everything, no one will ever compare”

Virgil Abloh, Fashion Designer 

“this image alone was enough to make my generation dream…”

Laura Brown, EIC of InStyle 

“One of the many myths about Karl was that he didn’t like to be touched. I was shooting with him once and rubbed him on the arm. He turned to me and said, ‘We all need to be touched, no?'”

Naomi Campbell, Model 

“Karl .. too many memories to write … , I THANK YOU , THANK YOU, THANK YOU !!! For taking the chance on 16 year old girl from South London and opening my eyes . May you Rest with Highest ???????????”

Charlotte Tilbury, Makeup Artist

“Beyond devastated to hear that my darling friend and legendary genius, Karl Lagerfeld, has passed away. Karl was a true artist and visionary, and was one of the most magical, inspiring, mesmeric beings to know and work with. His awe-inspiring presence and legacy in fashion and life will be eternal.”

Edward Enninful, EIC of British Vogue 

“It goes without saying that the world has lost one of the greatest designers in the history of fashion ? ”

Cindy Crawford, Model 

“@karllagerfeld your incredible talent and joie de vivre will be missed by all of us who love fashion and you ?”

Kim Kardashian West, Celebrity 

“We lost a true legend!!!! You were such an inspiration to the world! You shot my first fashion shoot and I was so nervous to work with such an icon! The world is so much chicer because you existed! I am beyond honored to have met you and had the opportunity to work with you. You are so loved and will be so missed ?”

Diane Kruger, Actress & Former Chanel Beauty Campaign Star

“Karl…..I cannot tell you how much you meant to me and how much I will miss you ♥️ I will never forget your kindness towards me, your laughs, your imagination ♥️ I came to France to see you this week and introduce you to my daughter…I’m heartbroken I was too late ♥️ Rest In Peace, I adore you ♥️”

Karen Elson, Model & Singer

“Rest In Peace Karl Lagerfeld.
I was 18 and this was one of my first major fashion shows I walked in. To be the bride at Chanel was as big as it got! I remember being so terrified but Karl, Linda and Naomi et al, were all so sweet and protective of me. Karl shot me for many Chanel campaigns afterwards. I remember being in his studio listening to Karl’s encyclopedic mind as he’d have conversations with many interesting cultural figures who’d drop by for lunch or dinner. The mountains of books piled high from every subject imaginable. I learnt so much in that time both about fashion, photography and art. Karl to those who knew him, was kind, funny and even shy. My heart goes out to all the people close to Karl especially to Amanda Harlech. We will miss you Karl and thank you for all that you contributed to fashion. ?”

Alessandro Michele, Creative Director of Gucci


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Eva Chen, Director of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram 

“I got to interview Karl when I was the editor of @luckymagazine and, since it was around April Fool’s Day, we mocked up a cover of the issue with his cat on the cover. He was so tickled by it that he asked to keep it. I didn’t know him well but in my fleeting encounters with him, he had a wicked wit (he had very strong opinions about Athleisure) and a true fashion legend. Rest In Peace, thank you for inspiring us”

Sam McKnight, Hair Stylist

“Dear Karl, it has been an enormous pleasure. I’m honoured to have known you. ❤️”

Adut Akech Bior, Model 

“Shocked doesn’t even describe what I’m feeling right now, I just received the WORSE NEWS that @karllagerfeld has passed away this morning after weeks of being so ill ?It’s so hard to believe that you’re gone, I didn’t think that 3 weeks ago would be the last time I saw, hugged and kissed you ? Karl thank so much for being one of the people in this industry that really believed in me and took a chance with me.”

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Shocked doesn’t even describe what I’m feeling right now, I just received the WORSE NEWS that @karllagerfeld has passed away this morning after weeks of being so ill ?It’s so hard to believe that you’re gone, I didn’t think that 3 weeks ago would be the last time I saw, hugged and kissed you ? Karl thank so much for being one of the people in this industry that really believed in me and took a chance with me. Working with Chanel had always been one my biggest dream since I started modelling and you made that dream come true for me. I don’t think I could ever thank you enough for the life changing experiences and opportunities that I received from you. It makes me so proud and honoured to know that I got to be apart of your legacy. I got to be in front of your camera while you took some of the beautiful images of me. We got to make history together. It’s moments like this that I will cherish for the rest of my life. I truely love Karl so much not only for his incredible work as a designer and photographer but he made me feel so special in way no one else did. Every time I was in his presence he always made me feel like the most beautiful girl in the room. He gave me so much confidence and belief in myself. He will always hold a special spot in my heart. @djcori thank you for always being by Karl side and I’m so sorry for your loss. Karl I love you, the world loves you and we will miss and think of you everyday. Thank you for everything you did for me and the industry. You have done more than enough for this world , now it’s time for you to finally rest in peace legend ?? ??? ?

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Clare Waight Keller, Artistic Director of Givenchy

“I don’t think I can fully express in words what Karl meant to me and to so many others in this industry. My heart is broken by the news today – he was an inspirational force behind many moments in my life and I feel truly privileged that I could call him a friend. Goodbye dear Karl ?”

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