British Fashion Awards: Crowning Karl Lagerfeld

Posted on

British Fashion Awards: Crowning Karl Lagerfeld

The British Fashion Council has announced that Karl Lagerfeld will be presented with the Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Award at this year’s British Fashion Awards. This coveted prize has been presented to those who have made incredible contributions to the fashion industry, including Alexander McQueen, Manolo Blahnik and Anna Wintour.

Chanel S12 265b

Karl Lagerfeld without a doubt has earned a place among these names, having himself influenced the fashion industry in a monumental style. Through his 60 year career, Lagerfeld has designed for several of the most prominent houses, beginning his career at Balmain at the young age of 17, moving on to to head of Chanel, Fendi, and a house of his own.

In the years that followed his young start as an assistant to Pierre Balmain, Lagerfeld designed for the likes of Valentino, Tiziani, Charles Jourdan and Krizia, taking a position at Fendi in 1965 which he still maintains today.

Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld (born in 1938), German fashion designer for Chloé. Paris, on October 6, 1972.

Through the 1970’s Lagerfeld worked for Chloé, leaving in 1983 to pursue a position at Chanel, only to briefly reclaim the role in the 1990’s. This opportunity at Chanel would result in not only a great movement in Lagerfeld’s career, but would also bring the house itself to the forefront of the fashion world, making the brand a world-renowned symbol of luxury and fashion. He maintains as the head designer at Chanel, Fendi and his own eponymous brand simultaneously, a feat of unparalleled balance and creative skill.

His revival of Chanel was at once stunning and to a few horrifying – Karl himself stated that he is sure Coco would not have liked him at all. His subversion of her classic designs and stylistic principles gave the house a new face for a new generation while still maintaining the foundational character. While his work has garnered both criticism and praise from the beginning, from his work for Patou to Chloé to Chanel, his innovation and creative prowess has been overwhelmingly successful.

Chanel S12 215  Chanel S12 221  Chanel S12 242

Over the years Lagerfeld has also collaborated with designers and retailers alike, including Diesel Jeans, Hogan, Net-a-Porter, an outfit for Barbie, a line for Macy’s and a line for H&M that sold out within hours.

Equally important among his accomplishments are his costume designers for theater productions, such as  Komödie der Verführung by Arthur Schnitzler at the Burgtheater in Vienna and Les Troyens by Hector Berlioz at Milan’s La Scala theatre. His costumes for operas such as La Traviata at the Macerata Opera Festival in 1984, and Carmen in the Arena di Verona in 1986 were celebrated in Rome at the Fondazione Roma Museo in 2010 among other famed designers. In 2009 Lagerfeld created the costumes for the English National Ballet’s Ballet Russe, most notably the stunning white feathered tutu for Elena Glurdjidze’s performance of the dying swan, as well as the impeccably refined, simple costumes for the four main dancers in Balanchine’s Apollo, renewed designs of the costumes he created for the 1997 performance by Les Ballets de Monte-Carlo. Lagerfeld’s work in costume design has translated to film as well, including his film “The Return” which documented an era in Chanel’s life and work.

While Lagerfeld’s skill as a designer has made him arguably the most well-known both in the industry and around the world, his creative drive expands beyond design. Through photography, Lagerfeld’s unique perspective has enchanted viewers and prompted the use of his work in editorials and spreads for Vogue, Vanity Fair, and more. He further photographs the major campaigns for Chanel, Karl Lagerfeld, Fendi, and loans his photography and design skills in advertising to houses such as Dior and Louis Vuitton.

Chanel S16 110  Chanel S16 122  Chanel S16 130

Karl Lagerfeld’s vision of the world around him has altered not only the way we view Chanel, a brand he thoroughly revived from what many assumed was its last breaths, but has offered a style and aesthetic through film, photography, design and more.

Chanel S14 295Karl himself is known for his impeccable style, always seen in his high starched collars, black jackets and black pants, accessorized by a black silk tie, fingerless leather gloves and dark sunglasses that contrast his white ponytail.

This style, his vision and personal eccentricities have influenced the industry and a generation of those involved, whether directly or through the trickling effect of his influence on others, a result of which has been adoring fans and press referring to him as ‘King Karl’ or ‘the Kaiser’ among other endearments.

Though this just glances over the varied and enduring achievements Lagerfeld has earned, it presents a full life and a monumental career few could rival.

His unrelenting creativity, work ethic and desire to produce beauty at every turn have indubitably lead to Karl Lagerfeld being selected to receive the Outstanding Achievement in Fashion Award this month.

Chanel F14 256

British Fashion Awards: Crowning Karl Lagerfeld


Avatar photo

Written by Lillie Peterson

Lillie is a graduate from UC Santa Barbara with a bachelor's in Classics and a lifelong fascination for fashion and art. A freelance writer and artist, her hobbies include photography, design, drawing and blogging.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *