The iconic force behind Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, has died at the age of 85, as reported by CNN. He was a legend to many. In 2012, Lagerfeld was asked about death by The Cut and he revealed his thoughts on what dying must be like. Lagerfeld said, “I think it’s like a sleep where you don’t wake up. You don’t remember before, you don’t remember after. The only thing is I don’t want to be seen dead, huh?” With this said, we don’t see there being a big, public viewing or funeral for the fashion legend.
With his death, fans may wonder about his life outside of the spotlight. Did he have children? Did he leave behind a husband or wife?
Lagerfeld never had children and he was not married when he died. But, he did have a godson named Hudson Kroenig. Young Kroenig has grown up on the runways of Chanel, as a muse for Lagerfeld. His father is a model named Brad Kroenig, according to Vanity Fair.
In the 1970s, Lagerfeld was in a relationship with socialite Jacques de Bascher, until Bascher died of AIDS in 1989. Paris Diary By Laure reported that Bascher was the only known companion of Lagerfeld and that he was considered “a bad boy”. Paris Diary By Laure also stated that, “[Lagerfeld] fell in love with Jacques de Bascher when he was 19 and took care of him until his last moments when he died of aids at 38, in 1989.” Lagerfeld was reportedly 18 years older than Bascher and was already a success in fashion when the two met. Bascher had been in the navy and worked various jobs when he and Lagerfeld got together.
According to WWD, Lagerfeld said that, despite being together with Bascher for many years, the two never had sex. Lagerfeld revealed, “I infinitely loved that boy but I had no physical contact with him. Of course, I was seduced by his physical charm.” Though Bascher liked a little adventure and would have scandalous moments, Lagerfeld reportedly would “turn a blind eye”. Lagerfeld confessed, “I didn’t hold him accountable. I only wanted to see the bright side of Jacques. I was unaware of what he kept in the shadows. He would tell me about what he did when I wasn’t around, but I didn’t ask questions.”
In Style reported that Bascher even had an affair with famed fashion designer Yves Saint Laurent. According to In Style, Lagerfeld said, “Of course I knew about the affair with Saint Laurent. I had been close friends with Yves for more than 20 years.”
The only time that Lagerfeld became remotely close to getting married was in 2013, when he publicly said that he would marry his red point Birman cat, Choupette, if it were legal, according toThe Mirror.
In 2012, Lagerfeld spoke with The Cutand admitted to not really having a sex life. He also spoke about his outlook on romantic relationships, saying, “I don’t know. I like freedom … Relationships happen for everybody, it can never be a problem. But it’s not really my main thing.”
The German designer, who was the creative director for Chanel and Fendi, was one of the industry’s most prolific figures and worked up until his death.
His signature ponytail and dark glasses made him an instantly recognisable figure around the world.
Industry heavyweights, including Italian designer Donatella Versace, issued heartfelt tributes.
“Today the world lost a giant among men,” said the editor-in-chief of Vogue magazine, Anna Wintour.
Lagerfeld’s website says his year of birth was 1938 – though most placed his age at five years older.
Rumours of Lagerfeld’s ill health had swirled for several weeks after he missed a number of events – including Chanel’s spring/summer show last month.
He died on Tuesday morning after being admitted to hospital the night before, French media report.
It has been announced that Virginie Viard, his deputy at fashion house Chanel, will succeed him as creative chief.
Pier Paolo Righi, his own fashion brand’s CEO, described him as a “creative genius”.
“He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the greatest designers of our time,” a statement from the House of Karl Lagerfeld said.
Celebrities including Victoria Beckham, actress Diane Kruger and models Gigi and Bella Hadid have also paid tribute.
US First Lady Melania Trump shared images on Twitter of a design created by Lagerfeld for her first official White House appearance.
New life at Chanel
He was born Karl Otto Lagerfeldt in pre-war Germany in the 1930s.
Lagerfeld changed his original surname from Lagerfeldt, because he believed it sounded “more commercial”.
He emigrated to Paris as a young teenager, and became a design assistant for Pierre Balmain, before working at Fendi and Chloe in the 1960s.
But the designer was best known for his association with the French label Chanel.
He began his long career with the fashion house in 1983, a decade after Coco Chanel died.
Lagerfeld’s designs brought new life to the label, adding glitz to the prim tweed suits the couture house was known for.
The designer worked tirelessly, simultaneously churning out collections for LVMH’s Fendi and his own label, up until his death.
He also collaborated with high street brand H&M – before high-end collaborations became more common.
Lagerfeld was known to encourage new designers, like Victoria Beckham – who has praised him for his kindness.
Lagerfeld’s own look became famous in his later years – wearing dark suits and leather gloves with a signature white pony-tail and tinted sunglasses.
Lagerfeld said of his appearance: “I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that.”
Despite his age and decades within the industry, the designer remained prevalent within popular culture – appearing in 2015 as a character in Kim Kardashian’s Hollywood smart-phone game.
Lagerfeld’s beloved pet cat Choupette, whom he doted on, has a cult following of her own online.
Questions about her fate have become a talking point on Twitter following the news of the designer’s death.
Lagerfeld became known for his scathing wit and provocative comments, famously describing sweatpants as a “sign of defeat”.
However, some of his remarks drew sharp criticism in recent years.
In particular, he sparked outrage when he attacked Germany’s open-door response to the migrant crisis , as reported by The Guardian, and for controversial remarks he made about the #MeToo movement, as reported by Papermag.