Karl Lagerfeld, Designer Who Defined Luxury Fashion, Dies at 85
Karl Lagerfeld, the most prolific designer of the 20th and 21st centuries and a man whose career formed the prototype of the modern luxury fashion industry, has died. He was 85.
His death was announced on Tuesday by Chanel.
“More than anyone I know, he represents the soul of fashion: restless, forward-looking and voraciously attentive to our changing culture,” Anna Wintour, editor of American Vogue, said of Mr. Lagerfeld when presenting him with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the British Fashion Awards in 2015.
“他比我认识的任何人都更能代表时尚的灵魂：永不止步，目光向前，如饥似渴地关注着我们不断变化的文化，”《Vogue》杂志美国版主编安娜・温图尔(Anna Wintour)在2015年英国时尚大奖(British fashion Awards)颁奖礼上这样评价拉格斐。
Creative director of Chanel since 1983 and Fendi since 1965, and founder of his own line, Mr. Lagerfeld was the definition of a fashion polyglot, able to speak the language of many different brands at the same time (not to mention many languages themselves: he read in English, French, German and Italian).
In his 80s, when most of his peers were retiring to their yachts or country estates, he was designing an average of 14 new collections a year ranging from couture to the high street, and not counting collaborations and special projects. His signature combinations of “high fashion and high camp” attracted Rihanna; Princess Caroline of Monaco; Christine Lagarde, managing director of the International Monetary Fund; and Julianne Moore.
他的同龄人大都已经退休，在游艇上或乡间别墅里打发时间，他却在耄耋之年依旧平均每年设计从高级定制时装到高街产品的14个新系列，这还不包括合作和特别项目。他对“高端时尚和高端坎普”的结合已经成为个人标志，吸引了蕾哈娜(Rihanna)、摩纳哥卡罗琳公主(Princess Caroline of Monaco)、国际货币基金组织(IMF)总裁克里斯蒂娜・拉加德(Christine Lagarde)和朱丽安・摩尔(Julianne Moore)等人。
“Ideas come to you when you work,” he said backstage before a Fendi show at age 83. As a result, Mr. Lagerfeld never stopped creating. He was also a photographer, whose work was exhibited at the Pinacothèque de Paris; a publisher, having founded his own imprint for Steidl, Edition 7L; and the author of a popular 2002 diet book, “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet,” about how he had lost 92 pounds.
“当你工作的时候，想法自然会出现，”83岁时，他在一场芬迪发布会的后台说。因此，拉格斐从未停止创作。他同时还是摄影师，作品曾在巴黎美术馆(Pinacotheque de Paris)展出；他也是出版人，在Steidl出版社创办了Edition 7L品牌；2002年，他写了一本很受欢迎的饮食书《卡尔・拉格斐节食法》(The Karl Lagerfeld Diet)，讲述了他是如何减掉92磅的。
His greatest calling, however, was as the orchestrator of his own myth.
A self-identified “caricature,” with his dark glasses, powdered ponytail, black jeans, fingerless gloves, starched collars, Chrome Hearts jewelry and obsessive Diet Coke consumption, he achieved such a level of global fame ― and controversy ― that a $200 Karl Barbie doll, created in collaboration with the toymaker Mattel, sold out in less than an hour in 2014.
He was variously referred to as a “genius,” the “kaiser” and “overrated.” His contribution to fashion was not in creating a new silhouette, as designers like Cristobal Balenciaga, Christian Dior and Coco Chanel herself did.
对他的描述五花八门，有“天才”、“皇帝”，也有“被高估的”。他对时尚的贡献并不是像克里斯托瓦尔・巴伦西亚加(Cristobal Balenciaga)、克里斯汀・迪奥(Christian Dior)和可可・香奈儿(Coco Chanel)这些设计师那样，创造出一个新的形象。
Rather, he created a new kind of designer: the shape-shifter.
That is to say, the creative force who lands at the top of a heritage brand and reinvents it by identifying its sartorial semiology and then wresting it into the present with a healthy dose of disrespect and a dollop of pop culture.
Not that he put it that way exactly. What he said was: “Chanel is an institution, and you have to treat an institution like a whore ― and then you get something out of her.”
This approach has become almost quotidian in the industry, but before Mr. Lagerfeld was hired at Chanel, when the brand was fading into staid irrelevance kept aloft on a raft of perfume and cosmetics, it was a new and startling idea.
That he dared act on it, and then kept doing so with varying degrees of success for decades, transformed not only the fortunes of Chanel (now said to have revenues of over $4 billion a year) but also his own profile.
And it cleared a new path for designers who came after, from Tom Ford (who likewise transformed Gucci) to John Galliano (Dior), Riccardo Tisci (Givenchy) and Tomas Maier (Bottega Veneta).
这也为后来的设计师们开辟了一条新道路，从汤姆・福特（Tom Ford，他同样改造了古驰）到约翰・加利亚诺（John Galliano，迪奥）、里卡多・蒂西（Riccardo Tisci，纪梵希）和托马斯・迈尔（Tomas Maier，宝缇嘉）。
Those who wanted to dismiss Mr. Lagerfeld referred to him as a “styliste”: a designer who creates his looks by repurposing what already exists, as opposed to inventing anything new. But he rejected the idea of fashion-as-art, and the designer-as-tortured genius. His goal was more opportunistic.
“I would like to be a one-man multinational fashion phenomenon,” he once said.
Indeed, his output as a designer was rivaled only by his outpourings as a master of the telling aphorism ― so much so that his quotations were collected in a book, “The World According to Karl,” in 2013.
事实上，能与他的时装作品媲美的，只有他频频吐露的那些大师级的格言――2013年，他的名言集结出版为《卡尔眼中的世界》(The World According to Karl)一书。
Some choice excerpts: “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat,” and “I’m very much down to earth. Just not this earth.”
Whether his statements were true was immaterial (anyway, it was conceptually true, or true at that moment). The truth could be a fungible concept to Mr. Lagerfeld, who was fond of taking creative license with the past. His birth year, for example, was a matter of some dispute: was it 1938, as Chanel believed, or 1933, as a book by the writer Alicia Drake asserted? Or was it 1935, as he told the magazine Paris Match in 2013? (The Hamburg Genealogical Society says he was born on Sept. 10, 1935.)
他的说法是否正确并不重要（无论如何，它们在概念上是正确的，或者在说的时候是正确的）。对拉格斐来说，真相可能是一个可以替代的概念，他喜欢对自己的过去进行创造加工。比如，他的出生年份就存在争议：是香奈儿认为的1938年，还是作家艾丽西亚・德雷克(Alicia Drake)在一本书中断言的1933年？抑或是他在2013年接受《巴黎竞赛画报》(Paris Match)杂志采访时所说的1935年？（《汉堡宗谱学会》[Hamburg Genealogical Society]说，他生于1935年9月10日。）
His personal proclivities were a constantly mutating collection of decades, people and disciplines. His one great fear was of being bored. His conversations (or monologues) could, in almost one breath, bounce from Anita Ekberg romping in the Trevi fountain, to how rich women in the 1920s slept under ermine sheets, and then to the Danish fairy tale illustrator Kay Nielsen. His one blind spot was his own mortality, which he refused to acknowledge.
他的个人喜好是一个不断变化的庞大组合，包括各种年代、各种人、各种学科。他最大的恐惧就是无聊。他的谈话（或独白）一口气从安妮塔・埃克伯格(Anita Ekberg)在特雷维喷泉边嬉戏，跳跃到1920年代的富家女子睡觉时盖白鼬皮被子，再跳到丹麦童话插画家凯・尼尔森(Kay Nielsen)。他自己的死亡是他唯一的盲点，他拒绝承认其存在。
As he said in the 2008 documentary “Lagerfeld Confidential”: “I don’t to be real in other people’s lives. I want to be an apparition.”