After weeks of ill health, Karl Lagerfeld died on Tuesday, leaving behind a reported $200 million.
Lagerfeld worked as creative director of luxury French fashion house Chanel since 1983. The Sun reports that the fashion icon was with Chanel until he felt unwell and was hospitalized on January 22. He was scheduled to attend multiple Fall 2019 runway shows before falling ill.
Lagerfeld’s wealth was acquired through more than his work with Chanel. He had acted as creative director for Fendi since 1967 when he collaborated with Silvia Fendi on women’s ready-to-wear collections. The designer and photographer also began his own brand that year. The Karl Lagerfeld brand combines “Parisian-inspired styles” and sells women, men, and children’s clothing, as well as accessories and perfume. The brand, along with Chanel and Fendi, ships and retails globally.
In 2014, Lagerfeld took on another role that would increase his source of income due to the rise of social media. He created an account for his cat, Choupette, and the furry, white feline became an instant hit in the digital realm. Choupette earned a reported $2.6 million in 2014 and has more than 120,000 Instagram followers. In 2016, Choupette’s book, Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Cat, was released, which consisted of words of wisdom, diet, beauty, healthcare, and fashion. The book contributed to Choupette earning an estimated $3 million within the last year.
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The House of KARL LAGERFELD shares, with deep emotion and sadness, the passing of its creative director, Karl Lagerfeld, on February 19, 2019, in Paris, France. He was one of the most influential and celebrated designers of the 21st century and an iconic, universal symbol of style. Driven by a phenomenal sense of creativity, Karl was passionate, powerful and intensely curious. He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the greatest designers of our time, and there are no words to express how much he will be missed.
While Lagerfeld’s work contributed to him earning a substantial amount of wealth throughout his career, the Sun reported that his financial troubles were looming shortly before his death. In 2016, he put his Hamburg villa on the market for an estimated $11.7 million. He was also being investigated in France for allegedly evading $22 million in taxes by funneling earnings through offshore tax havens.
Lagerfeld’s financial issues could’ve been due to his lavish lifestyle, including pampering himself and Choupette with private planes, which he had done for more than 20 years, according to his interview with New York Magazine‘s the Cut.
“You know, the problem with private jets is that even if you have a big one, if you have many people [aboard], then it is a nightmare. More than three or four, forget about it,” he told the magazine. “I like to sleep in planes. Or I close my eyes and clean my brain.”
It’s unclear who will receive Lagerfeld’s fortune, as the French designer and photographer didn’t leave behind any children or never married after losing his lover, Jacques de Bascher, to AIDS in 1989.