From his perch at Chanel, the German-born designer presided over the most famous of all fashion houses like the 18th-century absolute monarchs he modelled himself on.
He died this morning, on Tuesday 19th, according to the reports coming from the French media, after he was admitted in the hospital last night.
He cut a striking figure wearing a distinctive ensemble of crisp white, high-collared shirts with black tailored jacket and jeans, punctuated with a tie, shades, fingerless gloves and black boots.
But in recent years Lagerfeld had visibly weakened, even if his extraordinary creative stamina showed little sign of flagging on the catwalk. You shot my first fashion shoot & I was so nervous to work w such an icon! We owe him a great deal: "his taste and talent were the most exceptional I have ever known", Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of LVMH, said in a statement.
Lagerfeld had a long history of using furs as well as crocodile, lizard, snake and stingray skins in the clothing he designed for Chanel, Fendi and his own eponymous label.More news: Thomas seizes Riviera lead as Woods surges
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In a 7 decade career, Lagerfeld created collections simultaneously for the celebrated houses of Chanel and Fendi, in addition to his signature label.
Britain's Victoria Beckham wrote on Instagram: "So incredibly sad to hear this". "Karl was brilliant, he was wicked, he was amusing, he was generous beyond measure, and he was deeply kind". Indeed, his indefatigable energy was notable: he lost around 90 pounds in his late 60s to fit into the latest slimline fashions.
"My problem as a child was that I was bored to death because I wanted to be a grown-up person", he said in a 2011 interview with the U.K.'s Independent newspaper.
But speculation about his health spiralled last month after he missed the first show of his life, with Chanel executives saying that he "was exhausted this morning". He also founded his own fashion line.
Lagerfeld was as harsh with his fashion models as he was searingly critical of anyone he considered "not trendy".
Viard has been entrusted to continue the "legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld" at Chanel, having been Lagerfeld's closest collaborator for more than 30 years.
One of the first American stars to pay tribute to Lagerfeld was Kim Kardashian, who mourned him in a tweet as "a true legend".