Designer Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s global icon, dies in Paris

(Courtesy Shannon Finney/<a href="https://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com/index" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
As London Fashion Week takes place and the fashion world continues to process the complicated legacy of the death of designer Karl Lagerfeld. The fashion world is also examining its tricky relationship with race and bias, all while the industry is continuing to reckon with its uneven history of protecting models. Federico Pignatelli, who operates the Pier 59 Studios in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, launched the Model’s Bill of Rights in 2018 to protect fashion models from questionable, and, in some cases, illegal workplace practices. As the 2019 fall/winter runway shows continue, he once again calls for more fashion industry professionals to sign onto the Model’s Bill of Rights. (Courtesy Shannon Finney/shannonfinneyphotography.com)
(Courtesy Shannon Finney/<a href="https://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com/index" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
As London Fashion Week takes place and the fashion world continues to process the complicated legacy of the death of designer Karl Lagerfeld. The fashion world is also examining its tricky relationship with race and bias, all while the industry is continuing to reckon with its uneven history of protecting models. Federico Pignatelli, who operates the Pier 59 Studios in Manhattan’s Meatpacking District, launched the Model’s Bill of Rights in 2018 to protect fashion models from questionable, and, in some cases, illegal workplace practices. As the 2019 fall/winter runway shows continue, he once again calls for more fashion industry professionals to sign onto the Model’s Bill of Rights. (Courtesy Shannon Finney/shannonfinneyphotography.com)
German Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is seen backstage during the presentation of Chanel's spring-summer 2005 haute couture fashion collection presented in Paris Tuesday Jan. 25, 2005.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
German Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is seen backstage during the presentation of Chanel’s spring-summer 2005 haute couture fashion collection presented in Paris Tuesday Jan. 25, 2005.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/JEROME DELAY)
US fashion designer Ralph Lauren, right, awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, one of France's most prestigious distinctions, and Editor-in-Chief of the French edition of Vogue, Carine Roitfeld, second right , watch as German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld dances with his wife Ricky Lauren during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday, April 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
US fashion designer Ralph Lauren, right, awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, one of France’s most prestigious distinctions, and Editor-in-Chief of the French edition of Vogue, Carine Roitfeld, second right , watch as German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld dances with his wife Ricky Lauren during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday, April 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/FRANCOIS MORI)
FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld poses during the Champs Elysee Avenue illumination ceremony for the Christmas season, in Paris. Chanel says Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 its iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
FILE – In this Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld poses during the Champs Elysee Avenue illumination ceremony for the Christmas season, in Paris. Chanel says Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 its iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File) (AP/Christophe Ena)
Model Cara Delevingne gestures towards German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld after the presentation of Chanel's ready to wear fall/winter 2014-2015 fashion collection presented in Paris, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
Model Cara Delevingne gestures towards German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld after the presentation of Chanel’s ready to wear fall/winter 2014-2015 fashion collection presented in Paris, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon) (AP/Jacques Brinon)
German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, 2nd from right, and French former model and now designer Ines de la Fressange, right, flanked with models, take the catwalk, at the Grand Palais museum, at the end of Lagerfeld's spring-summer 2011 ready to wear collection for Chanel, presented in Paris, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, 2nd from right, and French former model and now designer Ines de la Fressange, right, flanked with models, take the catwalk, at the Grand Palais museum, at the end of Lagerfeld’s spring-summer 2011 ready to wear collection for Chanel, presented in Paris, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (ASSOCIATED PRESS/Christophe Ena)
FILE - In this Saturday, March 28, 2015 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld poses for photographers as he arrives at the Rose Ball in Monaco. The Rose Ball is the traditional annual charity event in the Principality of Monaco. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)
FILE – In this Saturday, March 28, 2015 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld poses for photographers as he arrives at the Rose Ball in Monaco. The Rose Ball is the traditional annual charity event in the Principality of Monaco. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File) (AP/Lionel Cironneau)
Karl Lagerfeld, Tilda Swinton
FILE – In this Monday, May 4, 2015 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld, right, poses with British actress Tilda Swinton after the presentation of his 2015-2016 Chanel cruise collection at the Dongdaemun Design Plaza in Seoul, South Korea. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon, File ) (AP/Ahn Young-joon)
Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld and actress Kate Bosworth attend the opening party for the mobile Chanel Contemporary Art Container in Central Park. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld and actress Kate Bosworth attend the opening party for the mobile Chanel Contemporary Art Container in Central Park. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini) (AP/Evan Agostini)
FILE - In this Tuesday, July 5, 2016 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld arrives at the end of Chanel's Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2016-2017 fashion collection presented in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File )
FILE – In this Tuesday, July 5, 2016 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld arrives at the end of Chanel’s Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2016-2017 fashion collection presented in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File ) (AP/Francois Mori)
FILE - In this Tuesday, July 5, 2016 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld arrives at the end of Chanel's Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2016-2017 fashion collection presented in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
FILE – In this Tuesday, July 5, 2016 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld arrives at the end of Chanel’s Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2016-2017 fashion collection presented in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File) (AP/Francois Mori)
Karl Lagerfeld, Hudson Kroenig
Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, center, and godson Hudson Kroenig, right, walk the runway during finale of the Chanel Metiers d’Art 2018/19 Show at the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Tuesday, Dec. 4, 2018, in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP) (Evan Agostini/Invision/AP/Evan Agostini)
Lily-Rose Depp models with German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld during Chanel's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection prsented in Paris, Tuesday, Jan.24, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
Lily-Rose Depp models with German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld during Chanel’s Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection prsented in Paris, Tuesday, Jan.24, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
FILE  - In this Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018 file photo, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld poses after the presentation of Chanel Spring/Summer 2019 ready-to-wear fashion collection in Paris, Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
FILE – In this Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018 file photo, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld poses after the presentation of Chanel Spring/Summer 2019 ready-to-wear fashion collection in Paris, Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena) (AP/Christophe Ena)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld waves after the presentation of Chanel Spring/Summer 2019 ready-to-wear fashion collection in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File )
FILE – In this Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld waves after the presentation of Chanel Spring/Summer 2019 ready-to-wear fashion collection in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File ) (AP/Christophe Ena)
Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld
FILE – In this Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2013 file photo, Anna Wintour, left, the english editor-in-chief of American Vogue and designer Karl Lagerfeld sit in a vintage car as they wait to view a movie short of Coco Chanel’s return to fashion after closing her house during WWII before the start of Chanel’s Metiers d’Art fashion show, in Dallas. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Tony Gutierrez, File) (AP/Tony Gutierrez)
FILE - In this hursday, Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld poses during the Champs Elysee Avenue illumination ceremony for the Christmas season, in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File )
FILE – In this hursday, Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld poses during the Champs Elysee Avenue illumination ceremony for the Christmas season, in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File ) (AP/Christophe Ena)
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(Courtesy Shannon Finney/<a href="https://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com/index" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
(Courtesy Shannon Finney/<a href="https://www.shannonfinneyphotography.com/index" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">shannonfinneyphotography.com</a>)
German Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld is seen backstage during the presentation of Chanel's spring-summer 2005 haute couture fashion collection presented in Paris Tuesday Jan. 25, 2005.(AP Photo/Jerome Delay)
US fashion designer Ralph Lauren, right, awarded the Chevalier of the Legion of Honor, one of France's most prestigious distinctions, and Editor-in-Chief of the French edition of Vogue, Carine Roitfeld, second right , watch as German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld dances with his wife Ricky Lauren during a ceremony at the Elysee Palace in Paris, Thursday, April 15, 2010. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, Pool)
FILE - In this Thursday, Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, Fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld poses during the Champs Elysee Avenue illumination ceremony for the Christmas season, in Paris. Chanel says Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019 its iconic couturier Karl Lagerfeld has died. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
Model Cara Delevingne gestures towards German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld after the presentation of Chanel's ready to wear fall/winter 2014-2015 fashion collection presented in Paris, Tuesday, March 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Jacques Brinon)
German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, 2nd from right, and French former model and now designer Ines de la Fressange, right, flanked with models, take the catwalk, at the Grand Palais museum, at the end of Lagerfeld's spring-summer 2011 ready to wear collection for Chanel, presented in Paris, Tuesday, Oct. 5, 2010. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
FILE - In this Saturday, March 28, 2015 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld poses for photographers as he arrives at the Rose Ball in Monaco. The Rose Ball is the traditional annual charity event in the Principality of Monaco. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Lionel Cironneau, File)
Karl Lagerfeld, Tilda Swinton
Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld and actress Kate Bosworth attend the opening party for the mobile Chanel Contemporary Art Container in Central Park. on Tuesday, Oct. 21, 2008 in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
FILE - In this Tuesday, July 5, 2016 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld arrives at the end of Chanel's Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2016-2017 fashion collection presented in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File )
FILE - In this Tuesday, July 5, 2016 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld arrives at the end of Chanel's Haute Couture Fall-Winter 2016-2017 fashion collection presented in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Francois Mori, File)
Karl Lagerfeld, Hudson Kroenig
Lily-Rose Depp models with German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld during Chanel's Haute Couture Spring-Summer 2017 fashion collection prsented in Paris, Tuesday, Jan.24, 2017. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)
FILE  - In this Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018 file photo, fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld poses after the presentation of Chanel Spring/Summer 2019 ready-to-wear fashion collection in Paris, Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct.2, 2018 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld waves after the presentation of Chanel Spring/Summer 2019 ready-to-wear fashion collection in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File )
Anna Wintour, Karl Lagerfeld
FILE - In this hursday, Nov. 22, 2018 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld poses during the Champs Elysee Avenue illumination ceremony for the Christmas season, in Paris. Chanel’s iconic couturier, Karl Lagerfeld, whose accomplished designs as well as trademark white ponytail, high starched collars and dark enigmatic glasses dominated high fashion for the last 50 years, has died. He was around 85 years old. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File )

PARIS (AP) — Karl Lagerfeld, the iconic couturier whose designs at Chanel and Fendi had an unprecedented impact on the entire fashion industry, died Tuesday in Paris, prompting an outpouring of love and admiration for the man whose career spanned six decades.

Although he spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy — including 20 years at Chloe — Lagerfeld’s designs quickly trickled down to low-end retailers, giving him global influence.

Former supermodel Claudia Schiffer, who credits Lagerfeld as her mentor, called him her “magic dust.”

“What (Andy) Warhol was to art, he was to fashion; he is irreplaceable,” she said.

The German-born designer may have spent much of his life in the public eye — his trademark white ponytail, high starched collar and dark glasses are instantly recognizable — but he remained a largely elusive figure.

Such was the enigma surrounding the octogenarian Lagerfeld that even his age was a point of mystery for decades, with reports he had two birth certificates, one dated 1933 and the other 1938.

In 2013, Lagerfeld told the French magazine “Paris Match” he was born in September of 1935 — which would make him 83 today — but in 2019 his assistant still didn’t know the truth — telling The Associated Press he liked “to scramble the tracks on his year of birth — that’s part of the character.”

Chanel confirmed that Lagerfeld, who had looked increasingly frail in recent seasons, died early Tuesday in Paris. Last month, he did not come out to take a bow at the house’s couture show in Paris — a rare absence that the company attributed to him being “tired.”

“An extraordinary creative individual, Lagerfeld reinvented the brand’s codes created by Gabrielle Chanel: the Chanel jacket and suit, the little black dress, the precious tweeds, the two-tone shoes, the quilted handbags, the pearls and costume jewelry,” Chanel said.

The brand’s CEO Alain Wertheimer praised Lagerfeld for an “exceptional intuition” that was ahead of his time and contributed to Chanel’s global success.

“Today, not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind to whom I gave carte blanche in the early 1980s to reinvent the brand,” he said.

Chanel said Virginie Viard, his longtime head of studio, will create the house’s upcoming collections, but did not say whether her appointment was permanent.

Tributes from fellow designers, Hollywood celebrities, models and politicians quickly poured in. Donatella Versace thanked Lagerfeld for the way he inspired her and her late brother Gianni Versace.

Lagerfeld was one of the most hardworking figures in the fashion world, joining luxury Italian fashion house Fendi in 1965 and later becoming its longtime womenswear design chief in 1977, as well as leading designs at Paris’ family-owned power-house Chanel since 1983.

While at Fendi, Lagerfeld helped create the notion of fun fur, lending an ease to a formal wardrobe topper by adding stylized touches.

At Chanel, he served up youthful designs that were always of the moment and sent out almost infinite variations on the house’s classic skirt suit, ratcheting up the hemlines or smothering it in golden chains, stings of pearls or pricey accessories.

Wit was never far behind any collection.

“Each season, they tell me (the Chanel designs) look younger. One day we’ll all turn up like babies,” he once told The Associated Press.

His outspoken and often stinging remarks on topics as diverse as French politics and celebrity waistlines won him the nickname “Kaiser Karl” in the fashion media. Among the most acid comments included calling former French President Francois Hollande an “imbecile” who would be “disastrous” for France in Marie-Claire, and telling The Sun British tabloid that he didn’t like the face of Pippa Middleton, the Duchess of Cambridge’s sister.

“She should only show her back,” he advised.

Lagerfeld was also heavily criticized for sending out a negative message to women when he told France’s Metro newspaper that British singer Adele was “a little too fat.”

Despite this, he was very kind to his staff at Chanel, generous with his time with journalists and shared his Parisian mansion with a Siamese cat called Choupette.

“She is spoilt, much more than a child could be,” he told the AP in 2013.

Lagerfeld had little use for nostalgia and kept his gaze firmly on the future. Well into his 70s, he was quick to embrace new technology: He famously had a collection of hundreds of iPods. A photographer who shot ad campaigns for Chanel and his own eponymous label, Lagerfeld also collected art books and had a massive library and a bookstore as well as his own publishing house.

He was also an impressive linguist, switching between perfect French, English, Italian and his native German during interviews at fashion shows.

Even as he courted the spotlight, he made a deliberate effort to hide what was going on behind his trademark dark shades.

“I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that,” British Vogue quoted Lagerfeld as saying. “It is like a mask. And for me the Carnival of Venice lasts all year long.”

After cutting his teeth at Paris-based label Chloe, Lagerfeld helped revive the flagging fortunes of the storied Paris haute couture label Chanel in the ’80s. There, he helped launch the careers of supermodels including Schiffer, Ines de la Fressange and Stella Tennant.

In a move that helped make him a household name, Lagerfeld designed a capsule collection for Swedish fast-fashion company H&M in 2004 and released a CD of his favorite music shortly after.

A weight-loss book he published in 2005 — “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet” — consolidated his status as a pop culture icon. In the book, Lagerfeld said it was his desire to fit into slim-cut Dior suits that had motivated his dramatic transformation.

The son of an industrialist who made a fortune in condensed milk and his violinist wife, Lagerfeld was born into an affluent family in Hamburg, Germany. He had artistic ambitions early on. In interviews, he variously said he wanted to become a cartoonist, a portraitist, an illustrator or a musician.

“My mother tried to instruct me on the piano. One day, she slammed the piano cover closed on my fingers and said, ‘draw, it makes less noise,” he was quoted as saying in the book “The World According to Karl.”

At 14, Lagerfeld came to Paris with his parents and went to school in the City of Light. His fashion career got off to a precocious start when, in 1954, a coat he designed won a contest by the International Wool Secretariat. His rival, Yves Saint Laurent, won that year’s contest in the dress category.

Lagerfeld apprenticed at Balmain and in 1959 was hired at another Paris-based house, Patou, where he spent four years as artistic director. After a series of jobs with labels including Rome-based Fendi, Lagerfeld took over the reins at Chloe, known for its romantic Parisian style.

Lagerfeld also started his own label, Karl Lagerfeld, which though less commercially successful than his other ventures, was widely seen as a sketchpad where the designer worked through his ideas.

In 1983, he took over at Chanel, which had been dormant since the death of its founder, Coco Chanel, more than a decade earlier.

“When I took on Chanel, it was a sleeping beauty — not even a beautiful one,” he said in the 2007 documentary “Lagerfeld Confidential.” ”She snored.”

For his debut collection for the house, Lagerfeld injected a dose of raciness, sending out a translucent navy chiffon number that prompted scandalized headlines.

He never ceased to shake up the storied house, sending out a logo-emblazoned bikini so small the top looked like pasties on a string and another collection that dispensed entirely with bottoms, with the models wearing little jackets over opaque tights instead.

Lagerfeld was open about his homosexuality — he once said he announced it to his parents at 13 — but kept his private life under wraps. Following his relationship with a French aristocrat who died of AIDS in 1989, Lagerfeld insisted he prized his solitude above all.

“I hate when people say I’m ‘solitaire’ (or solitary.) Yes, I’m solitaire in the sense of a stone from Cartier, a big solitaire,” Lagerfeld told The New York Times. “I have to be alone to do what I do. I like to be alone. I’m happy to be with people, but I’m sorry to say I like to be alone, because there’s so much to do, to read, to think.”

As much as he loved the spotlight, Lagerfeld was careful to obscure his real self.

“It’s not that I lie, it’s that I don’t owe the truth to anyone,” he told French Vogue.

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Thomas Adamson is at www.twitter.com/ThomasAdamson_K

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Samuel Petrequin in Paris and Colleen Barry in Milan contributed, and former AP fashion writer Jenny Barchfield provided biographical material.

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See AP’s Karl Lagerfeld photo gallery at: https://www.apnews.com/PhotoGalleries

Copyright © 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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