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Karl Lagerfeld

Lagerfeld, Karl (Karl Otto Lagerfeld), 1938–, German fashion designer, b. Hamburg, immigrated with his family to Paris in 1952. He won a fashion award at 16, designed for couturiers Pierre Balmain (1954–58) and Jean Patou (1958–63), then freelanced for Fendi, Krizia, and Valentino and designed for Chloé (1959–78; 1992–97). In 1982 he was appointed head designer at Chanel, where he revamped the classic Chanel suit into chic updated versions, using offbeat colors and such materials as denim and leather; reinvented the double C logo; accessorized with heaps of gold chain and pearls; and added such items as mini- and maxiskirts, hot pants, and lace-up biker boots to the house repertoire. The pony-tailed, sunglassed, fan-carrying Lagerfeld also has his own KL label (launched in 1984). His lines include neckties, shoes, perfumes, sunglasses, jewelry, and housewares. He is a skilled photographer as well, with several published volumes.

See his Karl Lagerfeld's Sketchbook (1986); A. Piaggi, Karl Lagerfeld: A Fashion Journal (1986); A. Drake, The Beautiful Fall: Lagerfeld, Saint Laurent, and Glorious Excess in 1970s Paris (2006).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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