Iconic Chanel fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, known as the Kaiser for his enormous contribution to the industry, has died aged 85. He had reportedly been ill for weeks.
German-born Lagerfeld, one of the most renowned and prolific modern fashion designers, was creative director at the French luxury brand Chanel at the time of his death. He had also worked with a number of other companies over the years, including the Italian Fendi and his own eponymous label.
Chanel, cited by AFP, has confirmed his death, though no cause has been named so far. Lagerfeld had skipped Chanel fashion shows in late January, though back then the company simply said he was tired.
Lagerfeld also ventured into politics, making several bold statements in recent years denouncing Angela Merkel’s ‘open-door’ migrant policies.
Brushing political correctness aside in November 2017, Lagerfeld said Merkel had replaced the millions of Jews slaughtered by Nazi Germany with their “worst enemies.”
He also said that he “hated” Merkel, accusing her policies of giving rise to Neo-Nazis. He even mulled rescinding his German citizenship in protest.
Lagerfeld, nicknamed Kaiser Karl for his exceptionally long and prolific career, had shrouded himself in secrecy, claiming he didn’t know his own real birth date and obscuring details of his personal life.
Lagerfeld’s designs and statements have been the source of several controversies. PETA had a personal vendetta against him for his use of fur, even throwing a pie at him at 2001 event (which went astray and hit Calvin Klein instead). He caused an outrage among some Muslims in 1994 by using a Koran verse in one of his collections, and among body-positivity advocates in 2012 by calling the singer Adele “a little too fat.”