So even before I had learned about Karl Lagerfeld’s death I had been thinking about starting a series of open letters to designers.. Designers who have changed the shape of fashion and deserve recognition (alive or dead)… And it seemed like the perfect time to implement this, because today is a day where all of fashion will be wearing black.
We all wonder what our deaths will look like; what legacy we will leave behind, and whether we will be championed or forgotten. You, will never be seen as anything but the innovator, the legacy of chanel, and a man and designer with impeccable taste.
“I was 6 years old. I was sitting on my mother’s desk in the country estate, in the big house , on her desk, where I was not supposed to sit and sketch and I said to myself: You will become very famous.” Karl Lagerfeld
You clearly knew your path and talent at a young age, and you did indeed become very famous. But for more than just beautiful sketches and dresses. You became famous for reinvigorating our love of fashion’s finest. The detail, the new. You changed what we believed we knew about brands like Chanel and made a house that was built on the classics into modern works of art that still reflected their dna. That will never be forgotten, and it will be almost impossible to successfully follow. You chose to lead, lead the fashion industry to a new and better place.
Your ability to design until your vision was brought to fruition is what we should all aspire to be. Yes, I personally believe perfect is the enemy of good…But when it comes to a piece that your heart and soul went into, you are absolutely right when you said “The most important piece in the house is the garbage can. You were not afraid to start over, and you were not afraid to reinvent elements to your brands identity and to yourself. This, was obvious a key element to your success in maintaining not only relevancy but a god like status within the fashion world.
The beautiful part of designing, is physically you leave yourself behind. Every garment you designed whether carefully preserved in a closet, or being worn to the latest and greatest represents your time and effort.
I remember first reading about your story ins YSL’s biography The Beautiful Fall, we all know how you felt about personal memoirs but that didn’t stop others from trying to capture the magic of your journey.
From being a woolmark prize winner at a very young age, to assisting at Balmain and designing pieces for elevated houses like Chloe and Valentinio you became a name within yourself. But, your true calling was Chanel.
Embarrrisingly enough, I love chanel so much I even have the children book about Gabrielle and her hat making journey for my son. I think I enjoy it more than he does.
While I was too young to remember this in person, I studied your bold fashion inspirations such as the Quran and your vehement and voracious quotes on athlesiure as it sprouted into a major trend within the past decade.
You refused to follow the footprints already marked on the path, instead you saw a completely different, more magical path. For that, we are all grateful.
Chanel, is a brand that you covet; that you collect like fine art. It is not just part of the logo mania fad, it is classic and new all in one. So we cherish our pieces, and hold them as a little piece of your brilliance and effect on this world.
Today, fashion mourns your loss. It really won’t be the same without you.
“I am very much down to Earth. Just not this Earth.” Karl Lagerfeld
We are all better designers (and better dressed) because of your vision. May your vision live on, may your creativity spread, and may you be remembered as the man who changed fashion and found the loophole in rebirth.
The fashion community. and