Karl Lagerfeld, creative director of Chanel and one of fashion’s most prominent and recognizable visionaries has passed away aged eighty-five. The native of Hamburg, Germany, affectionately known as The Kaiser in fashion circles, had missed the Chanel haute couture show in Paris last month, sparking speculation about his condition. According to Closer, on Monday night Lagerfeld was admitted to hospital in Paris, however his cause of death has not yet been released.
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Lagerfeld started out in 1955, as assistant to Pierre Balmain, before joining Chanel in 1983, where he spent thirty-six years. In addition to these roles, he also held long-term design positions at Fendi, Chloé, and established his own Karl Lagerfeld label. However, not only was Lagerfeld a revolutionary designer and fashion icon, the renowned polyglot was also a great lover of books.
In September of 2005, Lagerfeld gave an interview to Vanity Fair, in which he revealed his favorite writers in his many tongues, saying “I like poets best, E. Dickinson (English), R. M. Rilke (German), Mallarmé (French), Leopardi (Italian). I speak no other languages and I don’t believe in translated poetry,” as well as his fictional hero, Virginia Woolf’s Orlando. In 2008, he spoke to Women’s Wear Daily, saying “I hate leisure, except reading.”
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In addition to this, in September 2017, French Vogue ran an article simply titled ‘Karl Lagerfeld’s Favorite Books’ in which he listed works by the likes of Neitzche, for who’s entire works Lagerfeld was an editor in Germany, Spinoza (“the person who wrote the phrase that I live by: ‘Any decision is a refusal'”), Didion, Homer, and Borges among many others. In this piece, he also noted that he ‘wrote literary reviews for Vogue at the start of the 1970s, using Minouflet de Vermenou as [his] pen name.’
Lagerfeld had a personal collection of over 300,000 books. At the 2015 International Festival of Fashion and Photography, Lagerfeld explained “Today, I only collect books; there is no room left for something else. If you go to my house, I’ll have you walk around the books. I ended up with a library of 300,000. It’s a lot for an individual.”
In addition to this, Lagerfeld’s name appears on a number of books, including The Karl Lagerfeld Diet, The Glory of Water: Daguerreotypes, and Casa Malaparte among others.
Lagerfeld has been commemorated on social media by his many A-List friends and supporters, including Kim Kardashian, Kaia Gerber, Florence Welch and Editor-in-Chief of Manhattan Magazine Phebe Wahl whose post read ‘It was King Karl’s world, we were all lucky enough to enjoy it for a bit.’
Featured Image Via Katie Considers