An iconic name that is known in and also outside the world of fashion, Karl Lagerfeld changed the world of fashion in numerous ways. The designs, actions and ideas of the German designer created monumental shifts that ultimately changed the industry, creating a remarkable legacy to leave in his wake.

Karl passed away on the 19th of February 2019. Models and muses, friends and colleagues, and even rivals paid tribute to him and the contributions he has made to fashion.

There was so much more to the man behind those iconic sunglasses. Here are 6 ways Karl Lagerfeld changed the world of fashion throughout his illustrious career.

1. The Chanel revival

Perhaps the accomplishment for which Karl is most celebrated is his revival of the French fashion powerhouse, Chanel. In the 80s, Karl singlehandedly began to restore the bygone Chanel brand from its sleepy status to a responsive and contemporary powerhouse.

He highlighted its rich history. But more importantly, he learnt the rules Coco Chanel had created then began to shift, bend and break them into something that was uniquely his own. Because of the brand’s prominence, it becomes even more exclusive and valuable year after year. Even highly desirable secondhand Chanel bags can climb in price.

Chanel Style by Karl Largefeld in the 1980’s

Read More: 10 Fascinating facts about Chanel

2. The CC and FF monogram logos

Stamped into jewellery, emblazoned across accessories and forged into bag clasps — Chanel’s double C logo was created by Karl in the 80s as a nod to Coco Chanel. It has since become an iconic and integral part of the Chanel brand.

A Chanel double flap with the iconic CC logo

Karl was also the creator behind the iconic FF logo for Fendi too. The initials stand for “Fun fur”, which was used to highlight the collections of fur that Fendi was renowned for.

3. Bringing street fashion to high-fashion

One of Karl’s talents was his ability to understand and incorporate the cultural zeitgeist into his designs. His designs stood hand in hand with the mood and direction of the World, allowing people to connect with the ideas that he was bringing forward.

Crowds along New York city streets | Photo by Patrick Robert Doyle on Unsplash

He collected books, analysed street fashion, and took a great interest in so many facets of modern life. This immense fashion knowledge allowed him to pool all this cultural information into collections and designs that really captured the world around him. His work for Fendi, Chloé, Tommy Hilfiger and of course, Chanel, was influenced by this talent.

4. High street collaborations

Today, many designers and celebrities team up with high street fashion labels. Think Mary Katrantzou and Kate Moss for Topshop, or Beyonce’s Ivy Park for Adidas. But this wasn’t always the norm.

The H&M logo | Photo by Sei on Unsplash

Karl became the first-ever designer to collaborate with high street, fast-fashion giant H&M, creating a small collection of garments for men and women. It sold out almost instantaneously of course, and this collaboration practice has been highly popular ever since.

5. Freelancing for the World’s most iconic fashion brands

Considered unusual at the time, Karl took a leap in the 60s and became a freelance designer. This allowed him to work creatively on any projects that captured his eye, and he was soon hired by numerous high fashion brands including Valentino, Chloé and of course Fendi.

The Fendi logo | Photo from Wikimedia Commons

Like Chanel, the designs that Karl created for Fendi forever changed the direction of the iconic Italian label. Because of its iconic status, pre-loved Fendi bags also remain highly desirable on the secondhand market.

He even teamed up with Louis Vuitton — a brand considered a rival to Chanel and Fendi — to design a bag and put his own spin on the classic Louis Vuitton monogram.

Read More: The ultimate guide to buying pre-loved Fendi and other designer bags


In 1984 Karl finally brought his own brand into being. The brand carries his name and stands for everything that he sought to achieve in fashion, including a forward-looking and open-minded approach to where inspiration is drawn from. It has a limited number of physical stores, but also an online shop that’s full of information on Karl’s connections and work, and ultimately how Karl Lagerfeld changed the world of fashion.

‘Karl Lagerfeld’ Store in Düsseldorf | Photo by 9EkieraM1 on Wikimedia Commons

Featured Image: Photo by Siebbi on Wikimedia Commons


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