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Karl Lagerfeld, fashion icon, dead at 85

By Wade Sheridan
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Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of Chanel, has died at the age of 85. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI
Karl Lagerfeld, the creative director of Chanel, has died at the age of 85. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

Feb. 19 (UPI) -- Fashion industry icon and Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85.

French media reported the news that Lagerfeld died on Tuesday and Chanel confirmed Lagerfeld's death in Paris to The New York Times. A cause of death was not disclosed.

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Lagerfeld missed a Chanel haute couture show in Paris in January, igniting rumors about his health.

Lagerfeld, also known as The Kaiser due to his German heritage, had a signature look that consisted of black leather gloves, dark glasses, black jeans and a ponytail.

He was born in Hamburg, Germany, and later relocated to Paris as a teenager. Despite not going to art school or receiving any fashion education, Lagerfeld won a womenswear competition in 1954.

Lagerfeld joined Chanel in 1983 and stayed on as the creative director for the rest of his life. Lagerfeld was also the creative director of Fendi, which he joined in 1967, and founded his own fashion line.

Lagerfeld released a popular diet book titled The Karl Lagerfeld Diet in 2002 after he lost 92 pounds and was the subject of 2007 documentary Lagerfeld Confidential. His cat named Choupette was famous through the feline's Instagram account.

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The private designer was known for his outspoken comments about fashion and appearance. He came under fire in November 2004 when he was accused of saying British women were too fat for his clothing after chain H&M enlarged the sizes of his creations to fit the average size of women in Britain.

"We have lost a creative genius who helped to make Paris the fashion capital of the world, and Fendi one of the most innovative Italian houses. 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 which owns Louis Vitton said in a statement.

"Karl your genius touched the lives of so many, especially Gianni and I. We will never forget your incredible talent and endless inspiration. We were always learning from you," Versace head Donatella Versace said on Instagram Tuesday alongside a photo of herself with Lagerfeld.

"So incredibly sad to hear this. Karl was a genius and always so kind and generous to me both personally and professionally. RIP," Victoria Beckham also said on Instagram.

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Notable deaths of 2019

Notable deaths of 2019
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