LONDON — Iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died, according to French fashion conglomerate LVMH. He was 85.
The German designer was the creative director of French fashion house Chanel and the Italian luxury brand Fendi. He was also the director of his own eponymous brand.
Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of LVMH, which owns Fendi, described Lagerfeld as a "creative genius" to whom "we owe a lot."
Announcing the designer's death in a statement Tuesday, Arnault said he would always remember Lagerfeld’s “immense imagination, his ability to conceive new trends for every season” and his “inexhaustible energy” among other attributes.
A spokesperson for Chanel paid tribute to the fashion icon's "sense of repartee" and of "self-mockery."
Pier Paolo Righi, CEO of the Karl Lagerfeld brand, described him as "one of the greatest designers of our time."
Born in Hamburg, Lagerfeld was also known for his photographs, styling and illustration.
His website says Lagerfeld was born in 1938 but, according to Reuters, he long enjoyed befuddling interviewers by citing different years of birth, with the one deemed the most reliable being Sept. 10, 1933.
In January, Lagerfeld missed the finale of Chanel's Spring/Summer 2019 show in Paris and asked his longtime right hand, Virginie Viard, to take his place, according to Vogue.
Explaining Lagerfeld's absence, Viard said in a statement at the time that he was "feeling tired" and had therefore asked her to represent him at the presentation.
Chanel said Tuesday that Viard has been entrusted with the creative work of the collections, so "the legacy of Gabrielle Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld can live on."
Lagerfeld was named the art director of the house of Chanel in 1983. His website described him as a "force of nature, coupled with an enigmatic persona."
"I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that," runs one legendary quote attributed to him, and often recycled to convey the person he liked to play, according to Reuters. "It is like a mask. And for me, the carnival of Venice lasts all year long."
Even his cat, Choupette, is famous. Described on social media as "Daddy Karl Lagerfeld's spoiled" cat, she boasts more than 100,000 Instagram followers.
Fellow designers and models quickly took to social media to pay tribute to the fashion icon.
British model Alexa Chung posted a picture of the pair on Instagram along with a caption saying it was "an honor" to have known him. "Rest in peace, Karl," she said.
Supermodel Bella Hadid said she was "heartbroken" by the news, adding "we all love you so much."
French designer Christophe Guillarme posted on Twitter: "My gosh Fashion week in Paris will never be the same again with all my tremendous respect #rip #KarlLagerfeld."
Brian Atwood, a shoe designer, posted "RIP Karl. You brought so much beauty to this world! Your legacy will live on forever."
Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said she felt a "great sadness" at the news of Lagerfeld's death.
"More than an incarnation of Paris, Karl Lagerfeld was Paris," she said.