Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg. He has claimed he was born in 1938, by Elisabeth (born Bahlman) and his Swedish father Otto Lagerfeldt. He is known to insist that no-one knows his real birth date: Interviewed on French television in February 2009, Lagerfeld said that he was "born neither in 1933 nor 1938." His older sister, Martha Christiane (a.k.a. Christel), was born in 1931. Lagerfeld also has an older half-sister, Thea, from his father's first marriage. His original name was Lagerfeldt (with a "t"), but he later changed it to Lagerfeld as "it sounds more commercial."
Lagerfeld grew up as the son of a wealthy businessman from Hamburg who was introducing condensed milk (Glücksklee-Milch GmbH) to Germany; his mother is from Berlin. According to Alicia Drake, Lagerfeld's mother, Elisabeth Bahlmann, was a lingerie saleswoman in Berlin when she met her husband and married him in 1930.
After attending a private school, Lagerfield finished his secondary education at the Lycée Montaigne in Paris, where he majored in drawing and history.
At the time, he had also been maintaining a design contract with the Japanese firm Isetan, to create collections for both men and women through 30 licenses; had a lingerie line in the US, produced by Eve Stillmann; was designing shoes for Charles Jourdan, sweaters for Ballantyne, and worked with Trevira as a fashion adviser.
Karl Lagerfeld is a German fashion designer, artist and photographer based in Paris. He has collaborated on a variety of fashion and art related projects. In February 2011, there was the breaking news that Lagerfeld, age 77, was set to marry his long time boyfriend, 20 years old Baptiste Giabiconi, in summer 2011 at Karl’s 10 acre estate he purchased in 2008 on Grand Isle, Vermont. Later it was reported that Giabiconi was dating Kate Perry, but they apparently broke up in June 2012.
Evening Ensemble, House of Chanel, fall/winter 1990/91
In 2002, Karl Lagerfeld asked Renzo Rosso, the founder of Diesel, to collaborate with him on a special denim collection for the Lagerfeld Gallery. The collection, which was titled Lagerfeld Gallery by Diesel, was co-designed by Lagerfeld and then developed by Diesel's Creative Team, under the supervision of Rosso. It consisted of five pieces that were presented during the designer's catwalk shows during Paris Fashion Week and then sold in very strict limited editions at the Lagerfeld Galleries in Paris and Monaco, and at the Diesel Denim Galleries in New York and Tokyo. During the first week of sales in New York, more than 90% of the trousers had already been sold out, even though prices ranged from as high as $240 to $1,840. In a statement after the show in Paris, Rosso said "I am honored to have met this fashion icon of our time. Karl represents creativity, tradition and challenge, and the fact that he thought of Diesel for this collaboration is a great gift and acknowledgement of our reputation as the prêt-à-porter of casual wear."
Lagerfeld designed the costumes for the Carmen sequences in the 2002 film Callas Forever. In 2004, he designed some outfits for the international music artist Madonna, for her Re-Invention tour, and recently designed outfits for Kylie Minogue's Showgirl tour.
Lagerfeld collaborated with the international Swedish fashion brand H&M. On 12 November 2004, H&M offered a limited range of different Lagerfeld clothes in chosen outlets for both women and men. Only two days after having supplied its outlets, H&M announced that almost all the clothes were sold out. Lagerfeld has expressed some fear that working with lower-end brands will taint his image, although in the past he has worked closely with the hosiery designer Wolford.
Lagerfeld is also a photographer. He produced Visionaire 23: The Emperor's New Clothes, a series of nude pictures of models and celebrities. He also personally photographed Mariah Carey for the cover of V magazine in 2005. In addition to his editorial work for Harper's Bazaar, Numéro and the Russian and German editions of Vogue, Lagerfeld photographs advertising campaigns for the houses under his direction (Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous line) every season.
In the 1980s, the Hans Christian Andersen tale "The Emperor's New Clothes" was published with drawings by Lagerfeld.
The designer was also the subject of a French reality series called Signé Chanel in 2005. The show covered the creation of his Fall/Winter 2004–2005 Chanel couture collection. It aired on Sundance Channel in the United States during the fall of 2006.
He has also supported and encouraged the work of up and coming designers including Philip Colbert of Rodnik.
On 18 December 2006, Lagerfeld announced the launch of a new collection for men and women dubbed K Karl Lagerfeld. The collection includes fitted T-shirts and a wide range of jeans.
Lagerfeld has signed a deal with Dubai Infinity Holdings (DIH); an investments enterprise that will focus on first of its kind projects in non conventional growth sectors, in line with their mandate to fulfil unmet market needs. Lagerfeld is to design limited edition homes on Isla Moda, the world’s first dedicated fashion island, set in the iconic development, The World. This will be a collaboration between Dubai Infinity Holdings and Lagerfeld across the GCC and India.
Lagerfeld is the host of fictional radio station "K109 – The Studio" in the videogame Grand Theft Auto IV.
In 2008, Lagerfeld created a teddy bear in his likeness produced by Steiff in a limited-edition of 2,500 that sold for $1,500. Lagerfeld has been immortalized in many forms: pins, shirts, dolls, and more. In 2009, Tra Tutti began selling Karl Lagermouse and Karl Lagerfelt, mini Lagerfelds in the form of mice and finger puppets respectively.
On 10 September 2010, the Couture Council of The Museum at the Fashion Institute of Technology presented Lagerfeld with an award created for him, "The Couture Council Fashion Visionary Award", at a benefit luncheon at Avery Fisher Hall, New York.
On 10 November 2010, Lagerfeld and Swedish crystal manufacturer Orrefors announced a collaboration for designing a crystal art collection. The first collection was launched in spring 2011 under the name "Orrefors by Karl Lagerfeld".
In the french issue of Architectural Digest in May 2012, Karl Lagerfeld shows off his apartment in Paris. He also revealed his vast collection of Suzanne Belperron's pins and brooches and used the colour of one of her blue chalcedony rings as the starting point for the Chanel spring/summer 2012 collection.
Baptiste Giabiconi, Vogue Paris, Sa libre attitude, March 2009, by Karl Lagerfeld
Baptiste Giabiconi, Vogue Nippon (Japan), Into the Light, July 2009, by Karl Lagerfeld
Baptiste Giabiconi for Purple magazine by Karl Lagerfeld
Baptiste Giabiconi for Purple magazine by Karl Lagerfeld
In February 2011, there was the breaking news that Karl Lagerfeld, age 77, was set to marry his long time boyfriend, 20 years old Baptiste Giabiconi, in summer 2011 at Karl’s 10 acre estate he purchased in 2008 on Grand Isle, Vermont in United States. Later it was reported that Giabiconi was dating Kate Perry, but they apparently broke up in June 2012.
Evening Ensemble, Chloé, 1966
Wedding Ensemble, Karl Lagerfeld, 1977
Evening Dress, Chloé, ca. 1980
Evening Suit, House of Chanel, late 1980s
"Chanel Imperatrice", House of Chanel, spring/summer 1984
The Piano Dress, 1985. White and black silk organza evening dress, strapless bodice, bouffant full knee-length skirt with appliquéd black silk "piano keys" around hem of skirt, ribbon sash with camellia in small of back.
Dress and jacket, 1987. Woman's suit consisting of a jacket and dress of black bouclé-weave wool lined with silk. Dress, just above knee length, in the same fabric as the bouclé-weave wool jacket, with the stripes horizontal at the yoke and wide waistband and vertical for the fitted pencil skirt. The hem is finished with a single width of one of the pairs of white stripes. The main part of the bodice is in the same black silk as the jacket lining, separating the striped wool yoke and waistband. Boxy cardigan jacket of black bouclé-weave wool woven with pairs of narrow white stripes. The sleeves have three button cuffs. The buttons are gold-edged with a black centre bearing a woman's profile in silver with gold hair. The jacket is lined in plain black silk with a narrow gold chain along the inside hem and the edges are finished with a single width of one of the pairs of white stripes. Exhibition History: The Collection Grows: New Acquistions (V&A 01/01/1988-31/12/1988).
Evening Suit, House of Chanel, fall/winter 1989–90
Evening Ensemble, House of Chanel, early 1990s
Evening Ensemble, House of Chanel, ca. 1990
Evening Dress, House of Chanel, fall/winter 1990–91
Trouser suit, 1991. Jacket in solid yellow sequins and black fabric, silk lining, with logo 'CC' zipper pull, and co-ordinating leggings in black Lycra. Exhibition History: Fashion V Sport, touring UK through 2010.
Evening Ensemble, House of Chanel, spring/summer 1992
Evening Ensemble, House of Chanel, spring/summer 1993
Skirt suit, 1994. This suit of black woollen bouclé and white plastic braid was designed by Karl Lagerfeld for House of Chanel in 1994. It consists of a skirt and jacket and is reminiscent of Chanel's cardigan suit formula, only breaking convention by using plastic braid instead of traditional silk trimming. Exhibition History: Black in Fashion (V&A 01/01/1999-31/12/1999)
Evening Ensemble, House of Chanel, fall/winter 1994–95
Jacket, House of Chanel, fall/winter 1997–98
Ensemble, House of Chanel, spring/summer 2000
Suit, 2003. This tailored dress and jacket is Chanel's contemporary take on its traditional tailored suit. In this version, the standard wool bouclé is accented with gold thread and trimmed with jewel-like beadwork as well as fur. The ensemble includes an oversized, heavily decorated belt. These luxurious accents transform a classic daytime garment into an example of eveningwear with considerable panache.
Evening Suit, House of Chanel, fall/winter 2003–4
Evening Dress, House of Chanel, spring/summer 2004
Dress, House of Chanel, spring/summer 2007
The Little Black Jacket: Chanel's Classic Revisited by Karl Lagerfeld
Paperback: 232 pages
Publisher: Steidl (August 25, 2012)
Amazon: The Little Black Jacket: Chanel's Classic Revisited
This book is Karl Lagerfeld and Carine Roitfeld's reinterpretation of Chanel's iconic little black jacket. Lagerfeld has redesigned the jacket, transforming it into a modern, adaptable garment to be worn by both sexes of all ages. The Little Black Jacket contains Lagerfeld's photographs of celebrities wearing the jacket with individual flair - sometimes classic, sometimes irreverent, but always Chanel - and each styled by Carine Roitfeld. A range of accomplished actors, musicians, designers, models, writers and directors gets the little black jacket treatment, including Claudia Schiffer, Uma Thurman, Kanye West, Tilda Swinton, Baptiste Giabiconi, Yoko Ono and Sarah Jessica Parker. This book shows the astounding versatility of Chanel's vision in Lagerfeld's hands, and ensures the little black jacket's future as a timeless classic.
Body Freedom: Karl Lagerfeld by Karl Lagerfeld
Paperback: 88 pages
Publisher: Steidl (November 15, 2012)
Amazon: Body Freedom: Karl Lagerfeld
Body Freedom is the latest chapter in Karl Lagerfeld's ongoing photographic exploration of model Baptiste Giabiconi.Lagerfeld's first portrait of Giabiconi in book form, The Beauty of Violence (2010), showed Giabiconi acting out an erotic seizure in a studio and toyed with the idea of nudity. Body Freedom liberates Giabiconi from the studio environment and tackles nudity full on: with enviable self-confidence and no shame, the nude Giabiconi plays before Lagerfeld's lens. Body Freedom comprises two folio-size books in a slipcase, each embodying a different episode in Giabiconi's development. The first shows him in the ruins of the Villa Adriana in Tivoli in 2008 (the 'antique'); while the second presents more recent images of Giabiconi in contemporary architectural settings (the 'modern'). Containing images taken over three years, Body Freedom is an exercise in the passing of time as seen through the male form, the transition from adolescence into manhood.
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