The Rise of Power – Karl Lagerfeld
With his white ponytail, leather gloves and buttoned-up shirt, Karl Lagerfeld himself has himself become a fashion institution. Karl is currently the head designer and creative director of Chanel, Fendi and his own brand.
Deemed by Time as one of the Top 100 Fashion Icons, Karl has definitely made his mark on the fashion industry. So how did this fashionable mastermind do it?
Karl Lagerfeld was born on the 10th of September, 1933 in Hamburg, Germany (however, this cannot be confirmed as Karl has never revealed the exact date of his birth). In High School he specialised in drawing and when he was 21, won the International Wool Secretariat Prize for his sketch of a coat. This caught the attention of Pierre Balmain, the creative director of Balmain, and he invited Karl to work as an assistant for him in Paris.
For the next 10 years Karl would be freelancing among other top fashion houses including Valentino, Chloe, Repetto, Curiel and Krizia.
Then in 1983, Karl got his biggest assignment yet – he was invited to become the creative director of Chanel, a then forgotten label that had been long out of the spotlight after Coco Chanel had died 10 years before. When Karl initially joined, he was warned not to change it. "[In] those days when a label [was] dead, it was supposed to be dead forever, there was no coming back". And so Karl begun by doing exactly that – making slight adjustments to Chanel's classic suits. It was only later, that Karl slowly started to completely transform Chanel into something more sexy and glamorous. He made Chanel's classic pieces more accessible and youthful and expanded Chanel into new ventures such as the perfume and jewellery business. In addition, while Coco Chanel designed the original interlocking CC logo, it was Karl Lagerfeld who introduced the interlocking CC closure on the flaps of the classic flap bag.
Today Chanel is ranked amongst most valuable brands in the world (Forbes) and is worth over $ 7 billion. Although Karl is 88, he has no plans of ending his fashion empires. When asked when he will quit, he says "Why should I stop working? If I do, I'll die and it'll all be finished".