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Iconic Chanel fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld dies in Paris at 85

The brand also announced that Virginie Viard, director of Chanel's Fashion Creation Studio, has been named Lagerfeld's successor

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld

legend Karl Lagerfeld, the rockstar behind the rebirth of and Fendi, has died in He was 85.

According to French magazine Closer, the German-born was not keeping well and breathed his last on Tuesday in a hospital.

The cause of his death was not immediately known.

The design supremo, who was equally popular for his personal style and was always photographed in his trademark white collared shirt, wide black tie, black sport coat, black glasses, fingerless black leather gloves and silver ponytail, leaves behind a lasting legacy.

He is survived by his beloved cat, Choupette, who has its own handle.

Lagerfeld's career in high started in the 1950s as Pierre Balmain's

During his time with the popular label, the won top prize in the coats category at an Wool Secretariat design competition with

In the 1970s, he began collaborating with Roman haute couture house Curiel, as well as Fendi, for which he served as a up till now. He also gave the Italian brand its iconic 'F and reverse F' logo.

In 1983, began his most prominent role by taking over as Chanel's The brand, 10 years after Chanel's death, was in a crisis when came onboard.

It was a role that not only brought fame but also helped regain its top position as an uber luxury label.

In his close to four-decade-long helm of Chanel, the designer stayed true to the design sensibilities of founder by incorporating the once-revolutionary silhouettes of the 1920s and 1930s and blending it with current, marketable elements, like the interlocked "CC" monograph.

The brand released a statement on Facebook, stating that it "benefited from his talent for all the branding campaigns related to fashion since 1987".

"Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of Chanel's success throughout the world.

"Today, not only have I lost a friend, but we have all lost an extraordinary creative mind to whom I gave carte blanche in the early 1980s to reinvent the brand," Alain Wertheimer, of Chanel, said.

Bruno Pavlovsky, of Fashion at Chanel, said Lagerfeld left his mark on the "legend of Gabrielle Chanel and the history of the House of Chanel".

"The greatest tribute we can pay today is to continue to follow the path he traced by to quote Karl 'continuing to embrace the present and invent the future'," he added.

The brand also announced that Virginie Viard, of Chanel's Fashion Creation Studio, has been named Lagerfeld's successor.

Viard has worked alongside the for close to 30 years and was considered Lagerfeld's right hand woman at Chanel.

The news of Lagerfeld's death left many in the fashion and cinema industry heartbroken.

remembered him as a "kind and generous" soul.

"So incredibly sad to hear this. Karl was a genius and always so kind and generous to me both personally and professionally," she tweeted.

"'Evolution is the secret for the next step' - rest in peace, Karl Lagerfeld," her husband added.

Donatella Versace remembered Lagerfeld as a genius who touched many lives.

"Karl your genius touched the lives of so many, especially Gianni and I. We will never forget your incredible talent and endless inspiration. We were always learning from you," she tweeted.

Indian said Lagerfeld's death marked an "end of an era"

Diane Kruger, who often sported the designer's creations, said she was heartbroken to hear about his sudden death.

"Karl... I cannot tell you how much you meant to me and how much I will miss you. I will never forget your kindness towards me, your laughs, your imagination. I came to to see you this week and introduce you to my daughter...I'm heartbroken I was too late. Rest In Peace, I adore you," Kruger tweeted.

The designer, who was fiercely guarded about his private life, had for the first time in more than three decades as the of Chanel, had skipped the post show walk of the brand in this January.

He had cited "fatigue" as the reason behind his absence from the show.

Lagerfeld's partnerships outside Chanel and Fendi included his collections for Diesel in 2002 and in 2004.

The celebrity also created costumes for the numerous theatre productions like "La Scala" in

He was behind creating the glamorous on-stage looks for various pop stars such as and

In addition to his creative duties, Lagerfeld also provided editorial work for print publications like V Magazine, Harper's Bazaar and various editions of Vogue.

While he was considered a visionary designer, Lagerfeld often courted controversy with his opinions about topics that ranged from religious appropriation to use of fur.

He came under fire for commenting on the appearance of female celebrities like Heidi Klum, and Adele, whom he called "a little too fat" in 2012.

More recently, in an explosive interview with French magazine Numero, Lagerfeld discussed topics such as body hair, diet and #MeToo.

First Published: Tue, February 19 2019. 20:40 IST