Karl Lagerfeld & 5 Other Designers Who Have Passed Away In Recent Years

Each made their own lasting impact in the fashion industry.

Designer Karl Lagerfeld walks the runway during the Chanel show as part of the Paris Fashion Week Womenswear Spring/Summer 2017 on October 4, 2016 in Paris, France
Pascal Le Segretain / Getty Images

Each made their own lasting impact in the fashion industry.

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)

Andy Spade, CEO and Creative Director of Kate Spade, and designer Kate Spade attend OPEN from American Express' 'Making a Name for Yourself' at Nokia Theater July 27, 2006 in New York City
  Matthew Peyton / Getty Images

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)

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)

Acclaimed dressmaker James Galanos poses for a picture at his Rodeo Drive Walk of Style induction ceremony and plaque unveiling October 18, 2007, in Beverly Hills, California.
  Toby Canham / Getty Images

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)

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.