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Karl Lagerfeld - Best in show

Here’s the deal with Karl Lagerfeld - you either love him or hate him. I have battled this thought for many years now, teetering back and forth between irritation and excitement. After a brief epiphany (that’s all it takes!), I’ve come to realize that this man of mystery fascinates me. From his designs to his personality, Karl always seems to stir up something controversial. Most of his criticism comes from his verbal onslaughts and ego-boosting assertions. Those things aside, Karl has prevailed on top of the fashion world for almost 50 years and incessantly remains the most popular and talented designer.

It seems to me that Karl has achieved his dream of “[becoming] a one-man multinational fashion phenomenon” (Voguepedia). With tenures at major fashion houses such as Fendi, Chanel and the eponymous Karl Lagerfeld, he is currently designing for 3 labels at the same time. To quote obnoxious Tumblr fashion bloggers, “when will your favs?”

It’s hard not to recognize the talent of this overzealous designer. Karl always thinks of a completely fresh and unique theme for his extravaganzas at Chanel and executes them to perfection. From fabricating a 40ft lion sculpture to putting us in the bed of an oyster, Karl’s ideas are energetic and fearless. We have seen the clothing unmistakably match their supermarket, arctic glacier, airline and merry-go-round precedents. Karl transforms the Grand Palais into a fantastical and fashionable wonderland - what has become a true Chanel experience.

Karl’s attention to detail is incredible. With 70 looks per collection and the most beautiful and meticulous handiwork, each outfit is a sartorial fantasy. This is no surprise coming from a man who “can reportedly turn out 200 original lightning-speed sketches in a twelve-hour stretch” (Voguepedia). Although he is often yawned at for his excessive use of tweed, Karl in fact uses a wide array of materials in his collections. For the recent Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014 collection, he used concrete strung along like beadwork contrasting the sequins. Some of his past materials include mother of pearl, denim, neoprene, leather, crystals and exotic feathers. A Chanel collection would never be complete without a tweed jacket and skirt. Telling Karl to ditch the tweed is like telling the island of Santorini to stop using white stones and blue paint to build its communities.

I admire Karl because he is never afraid to take chances. Each brave and bold step he takes forward brings his Chanel legacy that much further towards the empire he wished to create. It’s also impressive to note that Karl always has the future in mind, never reflecting on past collections or shapes - he is constantly looking forward. His ceaselessly creative mindset and the influence of his designs have rattled the standards of fashion design. After creating and reviving such a paragon of glamour at Chanel, who could possibly fill his shoes when he retires?

Images via Style Bistro. Written by Taylor Aube.

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