Karl Lagerfeld has died at 85, according to reports in France.

The iconic fashion designer, who was the creative director of Chanel, died after a period of ill health that lasted for weeks.

Fellow fashion designers, such as Katie Grand, have posted their respects. ‘There are too many great stories and fun times to detail, you are incredibly special and talented and I was very lucky to have known you,’ she wrote on Instagram.

The likes of Victoria Beckham, Alexa Chung and author Lou Stoppard posted their respects.


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RIP Karl Lagerfeld

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In a seven-decade career, Lagerfeld created collections simultaneously for the celebrated houses of Chanel and Fendi, in addition to his signature label. He had been Creative Director of Chanel, started by Coco Chanel, since 1983.

But speculation had been growing over the 85-year-old’s health. Back in January, he was absent from Chanel’s haute couture shows in Paris.

When the first of the two shows had ended without an appearance from the superstar designer, an announcement was made that he was expected at the noon show, but he never showed up.

‘Mr Lagerfeld, artistic director of Chanel, who was feeling tired, asked Virginie Viard, director of the creative studio of the house, to represent him,’ said a statement after the second show.

It was the first occasion Lagerfeld had missed a catwalk show.

After his designs, Lagerfeld was perhaps best known for his signature outfit: a black suit with his white hair pushed into a ponytail, fingerless gloves and dark glasses.

He was born Karl Otto Lagerfeldt in 1933 in Germany. Lagerfeld changed his original surname from Lagerfeldt, because he believed it sounded ‘more commercial’.

He emigrated to Paris as a young teenager, and became a design assistant for Pierre Balmain, before working at Fendi and Chloe in the 1960s.

He began his long career with Chanel in 1983, a decade after Coco Chanel died. In his first season, he was reported to be ‘working 16 hours a day and delighted to do it’. He spent a record-breaking 36 years at the house.

Talk had already turned in recent weeks to who could succeed Karl when he eventually stepped down from Chanel. For the past year, Lagerfeld has made most of his catwalk appearances jointly with Virginie Viard, director of the creative studio of the house of Chanel, which has prompted talk of a succession.

Others are suggesting Phoebe Philo might take the reins, though it’s all rumours at this stage.

No cause of death has been confirmed. We will keep updating this story.