A Tribute To Karl: Saying Goodbye
I’m not an authoritative voice in fashion; I work in fashion and write this little fashion blog because it brings me joy. Fashion is my favourite thing; I love the industry, I love the shows, I love the houses and I love the creative directors. I’ve been putting off writing this piece because I REALLY loved Karl Lagerfeld; and how do you even begin to write about a legend like Karl now that he’s no longer with us? Rather than give a potted history, or speak about stuff you could google on the internet, my tribute to Karl is my way of saying goodbye to one of the greatest fashion innovators of our modern times by talking about how he has enriched my fashion experiences. So here it is A Tribute To Karl: Saying Goodbye.
What is it about Karl Lagerfeld you loved?
Where do I even begin! I first took a real interest in fashion in my early twenties, when I used to live for getting on a train to Newcastle and popping into the Vivienne Westwood store to see/stroke/buy the latest new arrivals-it was my only access to real high-end fashion at the time. But then as my interest grew, I started to love everything about Chanel. It became the object of my affections and I used to look forward to the runway shows, the couture and all of the wonderful bouclé that appeared season after a season. As a real fashion junkie and a lover of Gabrielle Chanel, I poured over countless books and films, desperate to learn more about the lady that founded the house; whilst becoming more and more familiar with the Chanel of modern times. I couldn’t afford the clothes, so I would buy the make-up or perfume, just to have that tiny little piece of Chanel. Karl was the man; the face of modern Chanel and the man responsible for the amazing ad campaigns and shows that sucked me in. Although I didn’t realise it at the time, Karl was the face of the Chanel of my generation, taking over as creative director in 1983. The fashion world lost a real living legend when he sadly passed away on Tuesday 19th February 2019.
Karl worked at Chanel, designing the clothes, working closely with the famous ateliers, hiring models. photographing and directing the campaigns; he hand a hand in everything. Alongside that he was also creative director of Fendi and his eponymous label, Karl Lagerfeld. He loved to work and was always looking forward and thinking forward, preferring to think about the future, rather than concentrating on the past. I think a lot of my love for him as a designer came from this; I’m a bit of a workaholic too and I have real empathy for people with a similar drive (obviously I’m not on the same scale as Karl, or even anywhere near, but hardworking and driven people are my favourite kind of humans!). Even though his time was split between the houses, his creations didn’t suffer as a result. There were similarities at the houses under Karl, but each label appealed to a totally different audience; he knew his customers, that’s another reason why he was so successful. And let’s not forget that he was 85 when he died; he worked right up to his death-that’s pretty legendary if you ask me!
My Letter To Karl…
I don’t want to turn this post into a history of Karl’s life (incidentally if you’re interested in one, I wrote one for my work’s blog, which you can read all about here) so I’ve decided to finish this post by writing a letter to Karl, to thank him for the memories. Although he’ll never see it, it’s my way of saying thank you to an icon in fashion.
Although you didn’t know me, I just want you to know that you made fashion a joy to witness and be a part of. I’ve enjoyed sitting at home and watching your countless Chanel shows; your talent for set design never ceased to amaze me even though your fashion designs were the real stars of every show. I visited Paris and made to sure to tick off all of Gabrielle Chanel’s haunts and loved seeing your work in the flesh at Rue Cambon, wondering if whether at the same time you were upstairs working with the ateliers on your next collection. When Madamoiselle Privé came to London, I visited and queued for hours to see your work, bold over by the amazing exhibition and everything it entailed. I left swinging my tote bag on my shoulder featuring your amazing and detailed sketch of the famous woman herself. I’ve enjoyed seeing your work at numerous exhibitions over the years, and have loved everything that I’ve seen.
Thank you so much for everything you did at Chanel and for loving your cat Choupette so much; I’m a sucker for an animal lover. And thank you for your own brand too; I hope one day I’ll be able to afford Chanel too, but for now I love a Karl purchase and with my Choupette bag and Karl phone case, I’m known as the Karl lover of my office.
Thank you most importantly for changing the face of fashion, I’ll be forever in your debt for all of the wonderful memories you’ve provided over the years.
Rest in peace, it’s what you deserve-although I’m sure that if there is a heaven, you’ll be there designing clothing for all of the stars that went before you.
Until next time,