The legendary house of Chanel paid respects to their late Creative Director late last night as news of Karl’s passing broke. They also used this opportunity to announce that he would be succeeded by his right-hand woman, Virginie Viard.
Virginie has spent more than three decades working with Karl, starting as his intern and climbing through the ranks to eventually become Studio Director at Chanel.
While his name will now forever be synonymous with Chanel, he’s also widely known for his tenure at Fendi, which he held in partnership with Silvia Venturini Fendi until his death.
3. Donatella Versace
Donatella Versace, artistic director of Italian luxury label Versace, paid homage to Karl with a black-and-white photo of the two accompanied by a simple yet emotional caption that encapsulated the influence he had in their world. “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.”
4. Marc Jacobs
American fashion designer Marc Jacobs, who previously helmed fellow LVMH label Louis Vuitton, had difficulty processing the news. He wrote: “Waking up to a world without Karl. So sad. And strange. He was a great inspiration to me, and, undeniably a unique and extraordinary talent. RESPECT. Rest In Peace KL.”
5. Victoria Beckham
The former Spice Girl-turned-fashion designer, who had just showed at the London Fashion Week, thanked Karl for his support. “So incredibly sad to hear this. Karl was a genius and always so kind and generous to me both personally and professionally. RIP.”
Creative director Maria Grazia Chiuri expressed her extreme sadness through Dior’s Instagram account, while paying tribute to his impact on the industry. “He was such an emblematic personality, an icon with whom I had the immense good fortune of working early in my career, at Fendi. I appreciated his culture, directness and humour and admired his creations for the free and modern vision of fashion he offered women. We will miss him terribly and my thoughts especially go out to his teams at Fendi and Chanel.”
Givenchy (and Meghan Markle’s fave) designer Clare Waight Keller kept it personal and talked about how Lagerfeld had touched her life. “I don’t think I can fully express in words what Karl meant to me and to so many others in this industry. My heart is broken by the news today — he was an inspirational force behind many moments in my life and I feel truly privileged that I could call him a friend. Goodbye dear Karl.”
8. Kim Kardashian
Exclaiming that a true legend has been lost, Kim K recalled how she was nervous when she had to work with Karl, who was the photographer for her first fashion shoot. “The world is so much chic-er because you existed! I am beyond honoured to have met you and had the opportunity to work with you. You are so loved and will be so missed.”
9. Naomi Campbell
The British supermodel had nothing but gratitude for the German designer who had given her a break. “Karl .. too many memories to write. I thank you, thank you, thank you!!! For taking the chance on (a) 16 year old girl from South London and opening my eyes. May you rest with Highest.”
One of the music industry’s brightest figures, Pharrell paid tribute to Karl Lagerfeld with the simple caption, “The goat sleeps”. GOAT is an acronym for Greatest Of All Time.
11. Jessica Chastain
Actress Jessica Chastain chose to honor Karl with a more personal story, telling her followers that her “favorite moment with Karl was at Alice Tully Hall. Before we walked onstage, he noticed that I had a stack of note cards that I had prepared to interview him in front of the large audience. He told me ‘no no no cards’ took them from me and before I could protest, he whisked me into a waltz. We danced backstage until our names were introduced and walked onstage laughing with the joy that Karl always brought. I never needed notes. To fully be present with him was a never ending gift.”
12. Vittoria Ceretti
Lastly, model and one of Karl’s favourite muses Vittoria Ceretti shared a special story behind a dress she wore at the Chanel SS’19 Haute Couture show. She shared that Karl told her, “I woke up in the middle of the night and started drawing this dress for you. The next day I brought the paper in at Chanel and I told them ‘this is either for Vittoria or we’re not doing it’ ”
At the show, which was Karl’s final collection, Vittoria wore the final look—a stunning bathing suit and swim cap, matched with a frothy bejewelled tulle veil that cascaded down to the ground.