On Tuesday morning, news broke that Karl Lagerfeld, the Chanel creative director, had passed away.
The fashion giant was 85-years-old at the time of his passing, and while his exact cause of death remains unclear at this time, it is known that Lagerfeld was admitted to the hospital on Monday night.
The German national was notoriously private about his personal life, but it was known that he had a relationship with socialite Jacques de Bascher from the early 1970s until de Bascher’s death in 1989 due to AIDS-related complications. De Bascher was just 38 at the time of his death. During their relationship, they kept to themselves, and it was only 18 months ago that Lagerfeld first spoke publicly about de Bascher.
As reported by InStyle, Lagerfeld opened up to Marie Ottavi for the book she was writing about de Bascher, Jacques de Bascher: Dandy de l’ombre. Despite their almost two-decades-long relationship, Lagerfeld shared that the pair were never intimate.
“I infinitely loved that boy but I had no physical contact with him. Of course, I was seduced by his physical charm,” Lagerfeld told Ottavi.
While de Bascher was dying of the disease, Lagerfeld stayed by his side as much as possible, even sleeping on a cot inside the hospital room where he was being treated.
— CHANEL (@CHANEL) February 19, 2019
For his part, de Bascher was a “notorious bad boy” on the Parisian scene. Born into an aristocratic family, de Bascher’s charm knew no bounds, and Lagerfeld was not the only famous designer he tangled with. He also had an affair with Yves Saint Laurent, which occurred during his relationship with Lagerfeld.
“Of course I knew about the affair with Saint Laurent. I had been close friends with Yves for more than 20 years,” Lagerfeld explained of the dalliance.
His charm and charisma even had de Bascher seducing one of his teachers when he was still just a high school student, and both men and women would fall prey to his charms throughout his life.
“When he realized that he had an upper hand over others,” Ottavi wrote in her book, “he saw an opportunity, and knew that things would always work out for him thanks to his personality and beauty.”
Despite Lagerfeld’s preference for privacy, de Bascher took a different view of life and often spoke publicly about his debauchery, which included a fascination with the gay S&M scene, according to Pink News.
“Jacques had many lovers,” says Philippe Heurtault, a photographer. “But I wonder if sex was more important than that. Conquest was the real purpose. The more something was out of reach, the more it excited him.”
Whatever de Bascher’s shortcomings in life and relationships, Lagerfeld must have truly loved him. The truest testament to that is the fact that after de Bascher’s death, he was buried next to Lagerfeld’s mother. The designer was so distraught by his partner’s death that he was rarely able to return to the area, and sold his home there a few years later, Heavy reported.