Karl Lagerfeld is no longer with us, and the celebrity sympathy messages have been pouring out. It's fair to mourn for this icon, but let's celebrate his spectacular life and remember the man in his own words.
“We live in a dark and romantic and quite tragic world,” he once said, as Vogue reports."One day it will be over and I don't care."
If that message didn't depress the (designer) pants off you, we've thought of a way to honour this icon through his legacy of untouchable contributions to the fashion community. He would want us to move forward and look fabulous doing it! This is the man who brought us the Fendi zig-zag F pattern, the Chloe oversized jacket look and above all, all things Chanel in the 21st century. He made major moves.
Along with his eye for trends and singularly signature black-and-white style, this icon had a real sense of humour. In the past year he curated Chanel runway shows to feature a full-scale beach and an enormous replica ship, as The Evening Standard reports. His cat Choupette has more than 100,000 IG followers and a publishing deal. Karl's designs reflect this whimsy in a big way.
In the spirit of the massive impact he's left on the fashion world, we've taken a close look at Lagerfeld's celebrity fan base over the years. Read on to get inspired by some of his best celebrity collaborations or to 'lol' at celebs trying (and failing) to pull off his looks. And never forget his eternal words, "Sweatpants are a sign of defeat."
20 Margot Robbie At The 2018 Oscars (Slay)
With Oscar season coming up we can't help but wonder how many celebrities will be wearing Lagerfeld's designs in his memory. If they're anything like this Margot Robbie number from last year, we're about to get served a whole lot of glam.
Margot made Vogue's Best Dressed list in this sweet white Chanel Haute Couture gown at the 2018 Academy Awards, as Vogue reports. This dress is a great example of Karl's creative construction skills. Who needs straps when the bodice can hold itself up along with some swooping ribbon accouterments? It's also a testament to how his looks were both classic and edgy. Our eyes can't get enough of this one.
19 Willow Smith At Paris Fashion Week 2016 (Slay)
The days of cookie-cutter models ruling the runway are long gone, and Karl knew it. He looked for muses with that little something extra to inspire his designs and keep Chanel current. He proved this by hiring Willow Smith as his Chanel brand ambassador in 2016.
The event that launched this news gave us Willow Smith like we'd never seen her before, as Elle reports. A perfect mix of high fashion and trendy it-girl vibes, she turned it out in this layered Chanel look. Willow's spacey millennial energy really works with Karl's clothes, maybe because he was kind of spacey himself. In his words: "I’m very much down to earth, just not this earth."
18 Keira Knightley In Karl’s ‘Lampshade’ Looks (Slay)
See that waist? How could anyone ignore it. Karl and Keira had a special relationship in the early 2000s, and it's really been immortalized in the 'lampshade'-style dresses that he made and she popularized.
We really don't know who else could turn this look so well. She wore the look on the left at Paris Fashion Week 2014 and stunned crowds with her then 23-and-a-half inch waist, as The Times Of India reports. Keira in Karl's design manages to look architectural instead of ultra-thin, which is the risk of exaggerating proportions like this. Keeping the daring cut in classic colours is one way that we think this dramatic look actually worked IRL.
17 Tilda Swinton At 2018's Berlin International Film Festival (Slay)
We. Are. STUMPED by this look. Trust Tilda to pull out a gender-bending, statuesque yet shapely look that breathes new life into any red carpet event. Her close friendship with Karl Lagerfeld over the years proves her passion for couture. She always keeps it interesting, but this Chanel outfit from last year's Berlin International Film Festival really slays.
She was there to promote Isle of Dogs but honestly we think she is promoting fashion more than anything. From the lapel pin to the Baroque-era shoes and everything in-between, this look demonstrates how Lagerfeld could make something simple become truly striking.
16 Zendaya Working Chanel As Streetwear (Slay)
How does a rising star dress on her day off? Walking around town, running errands and side-stepping paparazzi can happen with effortless style if you've got the right accessories, and Zendaya does.
She was seen doing all of the above with a bold Chanel bag at her hip, an on-trend cheetah print jacket and a full denim outfit underneath. The Chanel symbol on her bag looks normal these days, but the quilted bag design hasn't been like that forever. Karl actually decided to move the logo from the inside of Chanel bags to the outside when he took over the company in 1983, as Vox reports. What would we have done without him? Not looked this cute, that's for sure.
15 Sarah Jessica Parker At The 2010 Oscars (Slay)
When SJP gets it right, she really gets it right. As a self-proclaimed fashion lover she's always trying the latest looks, and we think her Sex and the City character would be proud of this one. In true Carrie Bradshaw fashion, Sarah Jessica Parker rocked the 2010 Oscars red carpet in Chanel Haute Couture.
She looks regal in this long, streamlined silhouette. That's impressive considering this actress measures at just 5 foot 2 inches tall. The beadwork on the chest draws all our attention up to her gorgeous collarbone and the ribbon of material Karl thoughtfully laid there. Flattering, classic and uniquely chic, this outfit is a Lagerfeld home run.
14 Alexa Chung At A Chanel Ready-To-Wear Show (Slay)
Does Alexa Chung ever get it wrong? This look just screams Chanel by Lagerfeld. It seems like something we would dream of wearing to a picnic in Paris, complete with woven basket bag.
We also love when Karl's own personal style is reflected in the outfits he created. A white top and black string tie under a luxe fabric like leather or tweed is the style that he was always known for rocking. He spoke out about having one iconic, go-to look as if he were a drawing. Time reports him saying, "I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that." We like it too.
13 Florence Welch Performing At Chanel SS14 (Slay)
Florence Welch, lead singer of Florence and the Machine, once described her style as being what she'll want to look like when she's old.
"I like to wear clothes that I will wear when I'm an old lady," she told The Telegraph.
Karl's classic yet boundary-pushing Chanel designs might fit that bill. For one of his fashion shows, Florence wore a custom gown bedazzled with dangling fringe that might remind us of a cool grandma's throw cushion. She makes the look work, and since Chanel products are built to last, this dress might actually serve her well into her eighties.
12 Victoria Beckham At A New York Times Talk on Fashion (Slay)
Victoria Beckham is such a pillar in the high fashion community that she barely smiles in photographs because she feels that she has "a responsibility" to every fashion-minded person out there, as ABC News reports. She pretty much always looks good, but this Chanel number is a standout.
When The New York Times hosted a talk on Chanel's contribution to the fashion community, these close friends were both there and looking fierce, as The Evening Standard reports. We love how the waistline of her dress is angled in a whimsical way typical to Karl's designs (see Keira Knightley in a lampshade dress) and still as flattering as you would expect from something that Posh Spice decides to wear. So good.
11 Lady Gaga In Custom Karl-Inspired Couture (Slay)
If Karl Lagerfeld had been a woman, we can only hope that this is exactly what he would have looked like. Lady Gaga can wear everything from meat to drag and beyond, but she will likely never look as Chanel-chic as she did in this custom gown created just for her in 2011, as Luxury Insider reports.
This look has everything that Karl Lagerfeld has become known for: architectural shapes, simple colour palettes used in bold ways, layering and matching various textures and jewelry, as well as a classic Chanel high-quality feel.
It's even got his signature fingerless gloves, with an added peek of red Gaga manicured fingers poking out! The details to admire are absolutely endless.
10 Kristen Stewart At A French Film Premiere (Not)
So much is happening here, and none of it is good. This is Kristen Stewart wearing a Chanel dress (in a weird way) at the premiere for the French film 120 Beats Per Minute. That movie only came out in 2018, so it's not like this outfit was chosen way back in the 90s or something. She chose to wear this outfit LAST YEAR.
We're pretty sure that if Karl had styled this outfit himself, he would have paired his dress with a high-necked white blouse reminiscent of what Tilda Swinton and Alexa Chung are wearing on this list. Pairing it with a bandage-looking tube top is a bad choice.
9 Amber Rose At A Chanel Fashion Show (Not)
Karl's face here pretty much sums up our opinion on this look. Why on earth Amber Rose chose to wear this under-layer of a gold number without any other Chanel pieces to break up the monotony of this one-tone look is beyond us. She looks like a glowworm.
Karl and Kanye were actually pretty good friends, as Glamour reports, which might explain why he agreed to appear in a picture with this pair. Karl was supportive of Kanye's fashion ambitions way before the rapper transitioned into his current fashion designer mogul status. We wonder what Lagerfeld would think of Yeezy products now.
8 Lily Allen Performing At A Chanel Ready-To-Wear Show (Not)
Karl Lagerfeld once said, “one is never over-dressed or under-dressed with a Little Black Dress.” Lily Allen is not wearing an LBD, but we think she should have taken his advice. She's seriously overdressed for a singing gig in a park, even if it was a Chanel event.
Unlike the Sarah Jessica Parker look we described on this list, Lily Allen's look does nothing to flatter her short frame. From ankle straps to heavy-looking feather accessories on her arms and shoulders, this outfit visually cuts Lily into unflattering chunks. She was also a friend of Karl's, as The New York Times reports, so we wish she'd have run this outfit by him prior to performing. We think he might have had a few suggestions.
7 Beyoncé Appearing At A Chanel-Sponsored Event (Not)
Beyoncé looked out of place at this public appearance, and not for the ways that she usually stands out, like her beauty and presence. She wore an oversized Chanel jacket with baggy cargo pants, a fashion no-no.
Karl's designs often played with exaggerating different shapes and sizes, but he would be sure to include some fitted elements along with the loose and large ones. To be real, Beyoncé doesn't look THAT bad here. Even when she gets it wrong, she looks amazing. But when it comes to ranking Chanel, we have to be as blunt as Karl himself! Sorry, Bey.
6 Julianne Moore At A Mademoiselle Privé Event (Not)
Karl Lagerfeld has been credited with bringing this classic suit set style back into fashion when he took over the House of Chanel in the 80s. It's an iconic look! The highly-textured, A-line tweed dress under the cropped jacket is definitely part of Coco Chanel's legacy, and Karl took it forward into the 21st century. Unfortunately, Julianne Moore didn't take it anywhere good when she wore it to a Chanel event in 2015.
The gold undertones in the twill fabric are working hard to wash out Julianne's pretty complexion, and the shape reads more quarterback than supermodel. The shoulders fit her in a lumpy way, too. Pass.
5 Marion Cotillard At The Grande Opera House Of Paris (Not)
On Marion Cotillard, this Chanel dress billows at the waist, draws a line across the widest part of her hips and cuts her legs right above the ankles. It goes without saying, but girl: this is not flattering.
It's a shame that Marion couldn't pull this look off, because she worked with Karl often when he lived in Paris, as Programme TV reports. The pair would make an inspiring fashion duo, but this style in particular just seems frumpy and dumpy. And she wore this to see the ballet! We couldn't think of anything further from light and airy than this look.
4 Jennifer Lopez At The 2001 Oscars (Not)
Think of Jennifer Lopez in 2001. Her career is just taking off. She did Selena, she's a hot young Hollywood thing and she's ready to take on the world in the new millennium. Unfortunately, this is the dress she chose to do that in.
She stepped out on the 2001 Oscars red carpet in a wrinkled - let's repeat, WRINKLED - evening gown that showed more of her torso than we can even show on this website. The top half of her outfit was completely sheer, which is very 'fashion' on the runway but not actually event-appropriate IRL. The dress is also too long for J-Lo and seems to have kept bunching up on the ground. She's come a long way since then.
3 Tracee Ellis Ross At The 2017 Emmys (Not)
Tracee Ellis Ross is making her way up to style icon status. She wears what she wants when she wants, and isn't afraid to look goofy online (as proven in the pose she's pulling here). This dress features some classic Chanel elements, as Vogue reports: feathers, greyscale tones, dramatic sleeves. Combined, however, those elements look like they're overwhelming Tracee.
In Karl Lagerfeld's defense, this dress is not supposed to look like this. It's a Chanel gown from 2017 that was showcased on models without belts, so when put on cinched at Tracee's waist it kind of bubbles out above the knees and the long triangle shape of the original dress is lost. Maybe Tracee just needed one more fitting.
2 Paris Hilton Stepping Out In Chanel, 2004 (Not)
We see that classic quilted Chanel bag. We see that she put the effort into matching it with red shoes and a Fendi belt (another brand Lagerfeld worked on throughout his career). Do we think this is a good look? Not at all.
This fashion moment is from Paris Hilton's partying days, and TBH it was a big moment for Lagerfeld's Chanel purses. You might remember seeing them worn like this in early-2000s shows like The O.C. and movies like Mean Girls. Trendy or not, this bag doesn't elevate Paris's outfit enough to get her off this list.
1 Kris Jenner Baring Those Legs At Paris Fashion Week (Not)
We love Kris Jenner. The 'momager' is usually untouchable, but frankly this is more of her body than we ever needed to see. She doesn't even look comfortable in these Chanel pants! Every pic of her in them features her covering herself with her Chanel clutch! The brand consistency throughout the outfit is admirable, but the choice of pants simply is not.
We'd expect to see these daring trousers on someone like Ariana Grande in concert, or even on Kris's edgiest daughter Kylie while she lounges by the pool or hangs out at home with Stormi. They don't belong on the literal street, which is where Kris is wearing them here. Please Kris: never again.