A story of the late fashion legend, Karl Lagerfeld, who also left behind an architectural legacy of his own
From reviving Chanel as its new creative director to weaving an architectural legacy of his own. Remembering the late fashion mogul, Karl Lagerfeld, and how he crafted his own legendary career fusing his varied interests
He died at the age of 85. But lived a prolific life, leaving behind a legacy that’s only designed to inspire. Karl Lagerfeld was a legendary man – known for his eccentric style, his signature white hair, his eye for reinvention and myriad passions. As one of fashion’s favourite enigmas, everyone knew that his day job as a famous couturier involved doling out collection after collection for Chanel, Fendi and his own eponymous label. But what many may not have known is how he managed to concoct an entire portfolio of admired mini careers, and stretch his genius to varied avenues including interior designing. From photography to publishing, from being a stylist, illustrator, gallerist, director, curator, costume designer, an adventurous collector, thrilling decorator and even a conjurer of fine tableware and luxe furnishings—there was very little that Karl Lagerfeld couldn’t do, if at all. He was a relentless visionary, who shocked and delighted the world over the course of his long and illustrious career.
Clockwise: Karl Lagerfeld Germany boutique; Karl on the ramp at the Paris Fashion Week; Karl playing photographer; Hotel de Crillon, Paris; a magazine feature on Karl in his younger days
And while his strides in fashion have always been well documented, and applauded, there were spurts of his magic in the realms of interiors and architecture that were equally awe-inspiring. Like how his imagination came to life when he redesigned the pool of Monaco’s Hotel Metropole Monte-Carlo, which featured a constellation of lights for the pool floor. Or when he was a part of the skilful ren-ovation of one of Paris’ most prestigious palaces, Hotel de Crillon. Here he designed two breathtaking apartments, creating one of the most lavish quarters in the French capital. The bathroom featured a two-ton bathtub carved from a single block of Carrera marble, showcasing classic elegance at its best. He even designed the lobbies of The Estates at Acqualina in Miami Beach, drawing inspiration from a traditional Roman piazza. This project put his love for photography in the spotlight as well. You will notice photographs taken by Lagerfeld himself of Roman fountains and arches etched into the lobby’s large wall panels, ceiling screens and skylights. According to him the lobby spaces played a dual purpose—it is the first impression of the building and it serves as a space for socializing. Beyond hotels and spaces, Lagerfeld even designed an art collection of functional sculptures for an exhibition called Architectures, which evoked a contemporary architectural landscape with Greek origins. Available as a limited edition of eight pieces, each was carved from a carefully selected marble block—the black Nero Marquina marble, curated for its brush stroke-like milky white veins. From tables to mirrors, lamps to fountains, each piece of art embodied Lagerfeld’s timeless monochromatic style, and was precisely cut, sculpted, faceted and polished in Italy by local craftsmen.
All we can say to Karl is thank you. Thank you for never forgetting to awe and inspire. Your legacy will always be remembered—as a
designer, and an endless visionary.