The fashion industry lost yet another icon on Tuesday morning when Chanel creative director Karl Lagerfeld passed away. The designer died at the age of 85 in the American Hospital outside of Paris, although his cause of death is not yet known. Concerns for the German designer’s health arose in January when — in an uncharacteristic manner — he opted to skip the spring 2019 haute couture fashion show, per the BBC.
As stated by Chanel in a press release, Lagerfeld was “an extraordinary creative individual” who “reinvented the brand’s codes created by (founder) Gabrielle Chanel,” according to CNBC.
Lagerfeld became the creative director of French luxury fashion house Chanel in 1983. He had also been creative director of Italian fur and leather goods fashion house Fendi since 1965. In 1984, he founded his own eponymous fashion label, and served as creative director.
Lagerfeld ultimately saved Chanel from a downward spiral when he was hired, and has since redefined fashion with both “high fashion and high camp” designs, the New York Times reported. As a designer, photographer, publisher, and artist, he never stopped creating.
Lagerfeld’s unfortunate death follows a number of other great fashion industry losses. Here are five other fashion icons who have passed away in recent years.
Kate Spade (1962-2018)
Kate Spade was found dead in her New York City apartment in June of 2018, at the age of 55. She had committed suicide. Spade founded her brand, Kate Spade New York, in 1993 — after identifying a market for high-quality handbags with her husband, Andy. The designs immediately gained popularity, and became known as a symbol of New York.
Hubert de Givenchy (1927-2018)
Hubert de Givenchy, founder of his own French fashion house, died in his sleep in March of 2018 — at age 91 — in Paris. He became known as a pioneer for ready-to-wear clothing, and often designed the wardrobes for Audrey Hepburn and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy. The fashion house called Givenchy a “major personality of the world of French haute couture,” according to Legacy.
Azzedine Alaia (1940-2017)
View this post on Instagram
Dearest Azzedine, You took us all by suprise. I am in a state of complete shock. You were the first designer that I met when I was just starting out in fashion myself, at a time when you were changing the course of fashion forever. You were a true master. RIP ❤️ #AzzedineAlaïa #forevermaster #icon
Azzedine Alaia died of a heart attack in Paris at age 77. The Tunisian-born designer was known for creating garments that molded to the body and celebrated the human form. He was ultimately dubbed the “King of Cling,” and found work with Christian Dior, Guy Laroche, Thierry Mugler, and more.
James Galanos (1924-2016)
James Galanos died at age 92 in his West Hollywood home. The American fashion designer was known for dressing the American elite, including Nancy Reagan. Galanos once said that he is only interested in working with one type of woman — “one that has money,” according to the New York Times. Throughout his long career, Galanos won several fashion awards.
Richard Nicoll (1977-2016)
View this post on Instagram
Elegance, sensitivity, and spirit ???? personified the late designer #RichardNicoll. In honor of his life and work, Pantone and the @britishfashioncouncil created Nicoll Blue, a sophisticated blue shade that encapsulates the symbiotic relationship between the simplicity and boldness of his iconic designs. #LFW
Richard Nicoll died from a heart attack at age 39. He was a British fashion designer most known for his work on modernist classic styles with the versatility to be worn day and night. Nicoll’s designs ultimately came to define London fashion in the early 2000s.