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Fashion ‘Kaiser’ Karl Lagerfeld dies, aged 85

AFP, PARIS

German designer Karl Lagerfeld appears at the end of his Spring/Summer 2014 women’s ready-to-wear fashion show for French fashion house Chanel during Paris fashion week on Oct. 1, 2013.

Photo: Reuters

Superstar designer Karl Lagerfeld has died at the age of 85, his fashion label Chanel said yesterday.

The announcement came just weeks after the man known as the “Kaiser” in the industry did not appear at shows during Paris Haute Couture week for Chanel, which he had led since 1983.

Friends have always said that the prolific creator would die with a pencil in his hand, and just last week his own fashion line, Karl Lagerfeld, was still announcing new design collaborations.

German-born Lagerfeld was artistic director of three separate brands, Italy’s Fendi, France’s Chanel — the world’s richest label — and his eponymous line.

Bernard Arnault, owner of luxury giant Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, said he was “infinitely saddened” by the loss of a “very dear friend” and a “creative genius.”

“Fashion and culture have lost a major inspiration. He contributed to making Paris the fashion capital of the world and Fendi one of the most innovative of Italian brands,” the billionaire said.

With his powdered white pony tail, black sunglasses and starched high-collared white shirts, the great friend and rival of Yves Saint Laurent was as instantly recognizable as his celebrity clients.

News of his death is likely to create an outpouring of emotion in the industry, and tributes began flowing in from politicians and fans.

“Karl Lagerfeld is an immense personality, someone out of the ordinary,” French Minister of the Interior Christophe Castaner told RTL radio.

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