Karl Lagerfeld was born in 1933 in Hamburg, Germany and spoke fluent English, French, Italian and German. Not many people know that Karl was born as Karl Otto Lagerfeldt. He dropped the "t" from his last name early in his career.

Lagerfeld made his foray into the fashion world in 1955 after winning first place at a design competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat. During the contest, he met and became friends with Yves Saint Laurent.

During Lagerfeld's career, he developed a reputation for jumping from one label to the next, with a nearly unparalleled track record of success.
Karl Lagerfeld
  • Lagerfeld was hired by designer Pierre Balmain, where he worked his way from junior assistant to apprentice. Lagerfeld worked at Balmain for three years.
  • In 1958, after three years at Balmain, Lagerfeld moved to Jean Patou. His first collection was shown in a two-hour presentation in July 1958, but he used the name Roland Karl, rather than Karl Lagerfeld.
Lagerfeld, never one to stay still for too long, grew bored of working at Jean Patou and quit, spending two years hanging out on beaches. He began working at Tiziani, a Rome-based fashion house, and once again caused a stir in the fashion world—in 1963, Tiziani launched a 90-outfit collection with a three-day party that incorporated Catherine the Great's jewels (borrowed from Harry Winston) and attracting the attention of famous fans like Elizabeth Taylor.
  • Lagerfeld stayed at Tiziani until 1969, but in 1964 he began freelancing for Chloé, designing a few pieces for each collection.
  • And in 1965 began designing furs, accessories, and clothing for Fendi, the Italian fashion house.
At Chanel in the early 1980s, he managed a seemingly impossible feat: He brought what was thought of as a near-dead brand back to life with a new and popular fashion line of ready-to-wear clothes. He is also credited with integrating the famous interlocked "CC" monogram of Coco Chanel as a styled pattern for the House of Chanel.
In 1999, Lagerfeld opened the bookstore in Paris on Rue de Lille to sell a collection of books on art, fashion, architecture, food, photography and design.
In 1984, after more than 20 years designing for various fashion houses in Europe, Lagerfeld launched his own brand, which he built around the idea of what he described as "intellectual sexiness." The brand developed a reputation for quality tailoring with bold ready-to-wear pieces like cardigan jackets in bright colours. Lagerfeld sold the line in 2005 to Tommy Hilfiger.
Made on