The legendary designer, who died at the age of 85 on Tuesday, changed the fashion world with his innovative creations that exuded elegance, luxury and glamour. Before creating his own eponymous line and landing the prestigious role as creative director of Chanel in 1983, he was named the creative director of Fendi in 1965 after working for fashion houses like Balmain, Valentino and Chloé.
Though all his creations certainly left a mark, Lagerfeld's revitalization of Chanel, the legendary French brand founded by Coco Chanel, is unmatched. His designs have inspired fashionistas around the world, including the masterminds behind Hollywood's most popular TV shows and films.
ET caught up with some of those talented artists on the red carpet at this year's Costume Designers Guild Awards, where they explained how Lagerfeld has influenced their careers. They also shared some of their most memorable moments from when they were first introduced to the beloved Chanel brand.
"Karl's work is a great example of artistry and whimsy. His designs always had a lot of charm and art. They were art pieces, but effortless. They never looked stiff or too much. They looked very elegant and relaxed and some of them had a little bit of a surreal quality to them. He was a real artist and I think he brought the level of fashion design up. The quality of his clothes is definitely something that will last forever. His clothes are timeless." -- Mary E. Vogt (Crazy Rich Asians, Hairspray Live!, Wayward Pines)
"For me, learning about Chanel was from fashion magazines and Karl himself, and his wonderful appearance. The way he presented himself embodied what the world of fashion could be and was. Being a kid in Minnesota studying art and textiles later in college, he always embodied, to me, the visage of high fashion and the quality and grace of fashion. It's a great loss for everyone. He was so important to so many of my friends and I in school." -- Hala Bahmet (This Is Us, The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story)
"I don't think it's a sad day. When I read the news about Karl Lagerfeld I really felt like this man has had a life that we need to celebrate and appreciate. He totally influenced me as wanting to be a fashion designer, becoming a fashion designer and definitely the work of Christian Lacroix, both of them together really influenced me when I was getting my education in design. I was really laughing today because I was reading Karl Lagerfeld quotes, which are my favorite, and he said, 'One of the things that I hate the worst is selfies.' And I was like, 'Yes. Karl, you know what, you've inspired me again.' He knows that social media is probably going to be the death of all of us.
I was introduced to Chanel probably in the late '80s. I remember all the pearls -- layers and layers and layers of pearls were coming back into fashion and I was totally obsessed. I was like, 'I have to find out what this is.' It was the brand that just keeps on giving. I'm actually wearing vintage Chanel earrings tonight that I got in Paris. Thank you, Karl." -- Janie Bryant (The Romanoffs, IT, Mad Men)
"In general, when a genius or a legend passes on it's a hard thing because they paved the way for so many designers in so many different ways of working in the industry and accepting your own art. For me, it's just a sad day because being a designer, it's someone you look up to. He's one of the few that allowed the expression of design to be the way it is. I really hope that he's somewhere else now, designing beautiful things up there.
When I was in college, I remember going to a thrift store and I bought this Chanel book. It's like different photographs throughout the beginning stages of Chanel with the original suiting, the whole controversy about the women being in suits and the biography of Coco Chanel's life. It's all black-and-white photos and it's pretty incredible. I remember back then thinking no one in this thrift store even knew what they were selling. I still have that book." -- Marina Toybina (The Masked Singer, SYTYCD, World of Dance)
"I've always been a huge lover of Chanel in general. Karl Lagerfeld is someone who is very outspoken, very much a vanguard… he's just an icon. He always did things his own way, and he always did so many things so well. The thing that I took away from him is that he stayed young throughout all of it. It's sad but the big thing is he worked until he was 85! Like, he just had a show. I want to do that.
My favorite memory of Chanel. First of all, my mom wore Chanel No. 5. But I remember in the '80s I was a fashion stylist and there was this amazing commercial with this beautiful model, Carole Bouquet. They had this amazing Nina Simone song, 'My Baby Just Cares for Me.' She wore Chanel and it was such a really cool moment. And because for me, it was like a mini film, it kind of brought me right back here." -- Ane Crabtree (The Handmaid's Tale, Westworld, Pan Am)
"I think that anybody that lives in this world, Chanel has definitely had an impact on you. It's such an iconic look and I feel like every costume designer has been like, 'Oh, rich white lady, let's put her in Chanel.' But Karl made it so much more than that. Karl is such a real, true artist. He was able to reach so many different medians -- art, filmmaking, fashion. And he just felt so comfortable in his own skin … he really embodied his own taste and I think there's really something to take from that, like trusting your instincts. Even with GLOW, there was recently a scene that was scripted in a very different way but I went to the creators and was like, 'Hear me out.' There's just something to learn from someone who had that pure confidence.
My first memory of Chanel, I grew up very differently. My mom, I love her, but she doesn't care about fashion. I grew up going shopping with my grandma. We didn't have any money, so I don't think I really understood designer fashion until I moved to Chicago and walked down Michigan Avenue. I had this red fur coat with a black fur collar and I would get a truffle at Godiva, and just walk and look at all the windows and be like, 'F**k you, this is the best. How can it get any better?' It was so magical." -- Beth Morgan (GLOW, The Conners, The Kominsky Method)
"Karl Lagerfeld, I think everyone recognizes as truly one of the greats. Even last season with Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, when I was dealing with some of the pinks, I really tuned into the collection last season and we had boards in which we looked at how he worked with all those pinks. His last season, he really had a lot of pinks. Alexander McQueen, Karl Lagerfeld, those are just people who are outside the norm, exceptional. They are geniuses and it’s impossible not to recognize them when you are in costuming." --Donna Zakowska (The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Gringo, Sons of Liberty)
"He has influenced every moment of fashion for me. I have my Chanel bag with me on the carpet today. He has left a stamp that is indelible." -- Allyson B. Fanger (Grace and Frankie, Nobodies, Melissa & Joey)