Fashion king Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld enjoys being in the public eye. But when it comes to his age, he immediately clams up. Baptism records indicate he may have been born on September 10, 1933,
but some say he was really born in 1935 or 1938. Whether he's turning 75, 78 or 80 this year, Karl Lagerfeld isn't putting on the brakes - he's a busy man, and one of the most well-known Germans in the world.
From Hamburg to Paris
Lagerfeld's father made a fortune selling canned milk. Karl wasn't interested in life as part of Hamburg's upper class. In 1955 he moved to the fashion capital, Paris, where he designed haute couture, first for Pierre Balmain, later with Jean Patou. Each year he created some 70 dresses. But that wasn't enough for the ambitious designer, who went freelance and worked for the labels Fendi and Chloé.
Since 1976, Lagerfeld's hallmark has been his ponytail and dark sunglasses, which he wears due to a vision problem. For a long time he was also often seen with a fan in his hand - completing the image of a dandy. Lagerfeld has said himself that he is inspired by 18th century style as well as Art Deco.
Karl Lagerfeld referred to himself as "Chanel's hustler," after he started working at the label in 1983. The designer managed to get young, trendy women interested in the label that had been reserved for older ladies for so long. His work for Chanel made him the king of the catwalk, and his creations are still beloved today.
Parisian model Ines de la Fressange (pictured left) was Lagerfeld's muse for six years - until the partnership ended in conflict. In the 1990s, Lagerfeld worked closely with German model Claudia Schiffer, who became the face of Chanel. Young French model Baptiste Giabiconi is currently Lagerfeld's source of inspiration.
In 1989, Karl Lagerfeld's partner Jacques de Bascher passed away. As a result of the emotional stress, the designer gained weight. Then in 2000 he lost 42 kilograms (more than 92 pounds) in just one year - and turned it into a success story. Since then, he's had the figure of a youthful model. He's reaped criticism for his obsession with thinness: He only sends emaciated models onto the catwalks.
Pictured are photographs of models taken by Lagerfeld himself. In addition to fashion photography, Lagerfeld has a number of other hobbies, including designing luxury villas in Dubai and Hamburg. He has also designed furniture and teddy bears and written books.
With his white stand-up collar paired with jeans, Lagerfeld stylizes himself into a work of art. He hasn't shown any interest in slowing down. On the contrary, he recently opened a shop in Munich - and is always accompanied by cameras and fans. As much as he thrives in the limelight, everyone needs a bit of peace and quiet now and then: Even if it's a big birthday, he says he won't be celebrating.
Source: Deutsche Welle