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Karl (Otto) Lagerfeld (born September 10, 1938 (according to some sources 1933) in Hamburg, Germany) is widely recognized as one of the most influential fashion designers of the late twentieth century. He made his name as an independent creator who collaborated with a variety of different fashion labels, including Chloe, Fendi and Chanel. In the early 1980s he set up his own label, called Lagerfeld, which launched perfumes and clothing lines. He has also played a role in equipping leading artists.
His father, Christian Lagerfeld, was a member of a Swedish merchant-banking family and made his fortune introducing powdered milk to Germany. His mother, Elizabeth, was German. Lagerfeld was their only child, born 10 years after the couple's marriage, when his mother was 42 and his father 60. He has several half-siblings from his parents' previous marriages.
Karl Lagerfeld emigrated to Paris at the age of 14. In 1955, at the age of 17, Lagerfeld was awarded a position at Pierre Balmain, after winning a competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat.
In the early 90s he once employed strippers and an Italian adult film star to model his black-and-white collection for Fendi. He has produced legendary pieces like the shower-dress, with beaded water streaming down the front; a car-dress with a radiator grille and fender, and a multitude of outstandingly eccentric hats.
Recently, Lagerfeld collaborated with the international Swedish fashion brand H&M. On the 12 November 2004 H&M offered a limited range of different clothes in chosen outlets for both women and men. Only two days after having supplied their outlets, H&M announced that all clothes were almost sold out. Lagerfeld has expressed he does not fear working with lower-end brands will taint his image.
He is also a photographer and produced Visionaire 23: The Emperor's New Clothes: a series of nude pictures of South African model David Miller. Lagerfeld is currently the chief executive of design at the House of Chanel.
Lagerfeld is also famous
for a dramatic transformation
of his body, when he lost
around 36 kg (80 pounds)
in one year.
The diet was created
specially for Lagerfeld
by Dr. Jean-Claude Houdret,
which led to a book called
The Karl Lagerfeld Diet.
Designer Definition (from U.S Department of Labor)