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The man who defined luxury fashion

By Rediff Get Ahead
Last updated on: February 20, 2019 16:24 IST
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Presenting 5 lesser-known facts about late designer Karl Lagerfeld.

1. His real name was Karl Otto Lagerfeldt and he wanted to be a cartoonist.

IMAGE: The German designer surrounded by top models Cindy Crawford, Helena Christensen and German Claudia Schiffer during a 1993 show. Photograph: Reuters

Born in 1933 in Germany, late designer Karl Lagerfeld decided to remove the letter T from his name.

He felt that Lagerfeld was a more commercial name than Lagerfeldt, which was his original surname.

The creative director of Chanel and Fendi, Karl was the man who defined luxury fashion.

But little do people know that the creative brain behind Chanel never wanted to be a designer.

Instead he wanted to be a cartoonist. Karl entered the fashion industry only to make more money and ended up leaving behind a fashion legacy.

2. He joined Chanel a decade after Coco Chanel's death.

IMAGE: Stella Tennant, left, and Naomi Campbell, right, pose with Karl after he presented his Spring/Summer 1997Photograph: Reuters

As a teenager, Karl left home and went to Paris. He began his first job in fashion as an assistant to Pierre Balmain in 1955.

In 1907, he joined Fendi, and in 1983, he went on to join Chanel. 

At that time, the fashion brand was struggling to survive, and in no time, Karl helped Chanel regain its top position. 

He had once said, “My job is not to do what she (Gabrielle Chaneldid, but what she would have done. The good thing about Chanel is it is an idea you can adapt to many things.'

According to Alain Wertheimer, CEO of Chanel, 'Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of Chanel's success throughout the world.'

3. He lost 40 kg inspired by a slim suit. 

IMAGE: The designer with actress and model Lily-Rose Depp at the end of his Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2017. Photograph: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

The image you see of Karl, above,  is very different from what it used to be back in the late '90s. 

The designer was 40 kg heavier. It was post the launch of Dior's slim suits, which were meant for the leanest frames, that Karl shed his obese figure for a more trim look.

He went on a low-calorie diet and also has penned his experience in the book The Karl Lagerfeld Diet

'Going on a diet because of clothes is a superficial reason; there's no obligation and nothing in your life depends on it, apart from your wardrobe.

'If you have a sense of humour, you can make fun of yourself.

'You have to treat it as an unimportant challenge and that's why you succeed -- because it isn't really important.

'You don't have to lose weight -- you want to,' he wrote in the book. 

4. In 2014, he transformed the ramp into a shopping center. 

IMAGE: The designer with model Cara Delevingne at the end of his Fall/Winter 2014-2015 women's ready-to-wear collection show for Chanel. He transformed the ramp into a Chanel Shopping Center. Photograph: Stephane Mahe /Reuters

Karl will always be known for his iconic runways and spectacular shows. 

Oversized shells and seaweed featured in his Spring/Summer 2012 collection.  

In 2014, he transformed the ramp into a supermarket, and in 2017 he made models walk down the ramp as aliens. 

5.  Karl has a 11-year-old godson

IMAGE: Karl's godson Hudson Kroenig (left) and his brother, Jameso dressed as Karl for a Halloween party. The young boy is in line to inherit a bulk of the late designer's fortune.Photograph: Courtesy Karl Lagerfeld/Instagram

11-year-old New Jersey-based model Hudson Kroenig is Karl's godson. 

The late designer's $200 million fortune will go to several people including his godson and his cat Choupette. 

Hudson, who is the eldest son of Karl's muse Brad Kroenig, first walked the ramp when he was two and has been cast in several Chanel runway shows.

>> Legendary Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld dies at 85

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