Karl Lagerfeld: A Look Back at the Iconic Fashion Moments the Legendary Designer Gave Us

From extravagant runway shows to celebrity collaborations, see why the Chanel creative director will forever be a fashion legend.

Karl Lagerfeld, arguably the world's most prolific and influential designer of the modern age, has died at the age of 85 in Paris. The sad news was announced on Tuesday. 

His signature white ponytail, black suit, gloves and dark sunglasses made him an iconic figure in pop culture (he even had his own Barbie doll and Diet Coke bottles), and his contributions to the fashion industry are incomparable. 

In addition to designing his eponymous line, being a photographer and artist, the fashion veteran previously worked for various European fashion houses including Balmain and Chloé. He became the creative director of Fendi in 1965 and most notably took the reins as creative director at Chanel in 1983. He revitalized the legendary French brand founded by Coco Chanel into an international phenomenon that became the epitome of elegance, luxury and glamour. 

Lagerfeld never failed to deliver something new and imaginative every season, designing with a modern approach while still maintaining the brand's history. His shows were a sight to see. They boasted extravagant sets with top supermodels strutting and the biggest Hollywood stars watching from the front row. 

In honor of Lagerfeld, we're looking back at his shows, designs and collaborations that made him the icon he forever will be. 

Over-the-Top Shows

The Grand Palais is home to Chanel's large scale runway shows, and Lagerfeld transformed the venue into incredible settings that transported the showgoers into another world. Highlights include the Chanel-branded supermarket (fall/winter 2014), space-themed rocket launch (fall/winter 2017), a recreation of the Eiffel Tower (fall/winter 2017 haute couture) and beach (spring/summer 2019). 

Catwalking/Getty Images
Victor Boyko/Getty Images
Catwalking/Getty Images
Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

Celebrity Campaigns 

Lagerfeld appointed Hollywood's biggest stars to be the face of Chanel and Fendi and shot many of the gorgeous campaigns, featuring Kristen Stewart, Keira Knightley, Penelope Cruz, Margot Robbie, Cara Delevingne, Gigi Hadid, Kendall Jenner and many more, splashed across the pages of magazines and billboards. 

Penelope Cruz in Chanel cruise 2018 campaign. - Courtesy of Chanel/Karl Lagerfeld
Kendall Jenner and Gigi Hadid in Fendi fall/winter 2017 campaign. - Courtesy of Fendi

Supermodel Relationships 

The celebrated creative director had an eye for talent and cast rising models in his shows whose careers soon catapulted to stardom, thanks to Lagerfeld. OGs like Naomi Campbell and Claudia Schiffer to today's It girls such as the Hadids, Jenner and Lily-Rose Depp all credited the Kaiser for their supermodel status in their social media posts following his death. 

Unforgettable Fashion 

Most importantly, Lagerfeld gave us incredible fashion. Since his start at Chanel in 1983, he was always moving forward when it came to design but never overlooked the legacy of the historic design house. Lagerfeld modernized the classic tweed jacket Coco made famous in countless silhouettes and colors, but also created dreamy couture pieces. He made both wearable and fantastical wares and accessories that stand the test of time.  

Inès de La Fressange on the Chanel couture fall/winter 1987 runway. - Daniel SIMON/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
A model at the Chanel fall/winter 2015 show. - Catwalking/Getty Images
Lily-Rose Depp and Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel haute couture spring/summer 2017 show. - Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images