It has just been announced that Karl Lagerfeld, the iconic German fashion designer, has died. He was a colourful character whose creative vision turned around the fate of fashion house Chanel.
I first became intrigued with Karl when reading a book about his life and the life of another iconic designer, Yves Saint Laurent, during the 1970’s in Paris. ‘The beautiful fall‘ is a story about excess, gay lovers, celebrities and the overall fabulousness of Parisienne living. Many of the people who orbited around Yves and Karl died very young while both designers managed to live long and fruitful lives. They were the heads of rival fashion social groups but shared the fashion spotlight along with sharing friends and gay lovers. The book is a fascinating peek into a time of overt excess and into the celebrity and fashion worlds that were once off limits and existed only behind closed doors and in the clubs of Paris.
While Karl rarely discussed his sexuality, with many asking the question “Is Karl Lagerfeld gay?”, this book gives a glimpse into the relationships of the famous gay designer.
Karl died in Paris on the 19th February after a period of ill health. He had missed two of Chanel’s haute couture shows in Paris on January 22, but the fashion company only said at the time he was feeling tired.
In 1950s Paris, Yves Saint Laurent and Karl Lagerfeld were friends, the rising stars of the fashion world. But by the late sixties, the city was invaded by a new mood of liberation and hedonism, and dominated by intrigue, infidelities, addiction and parties. Each designer created his own mesmerizing world, so vivid and seductive that people were drawn to the power, charisma and fame, and it was to make them bitter rivals. “The Beautiful Fall” is a dazzling expose of an era and the story of the two men who were its essence and who remain its most singular survivors. Buy it here.