Karl Lagerfeld, a leading spirit for eco-fashion, dies 85

February 19, 2019

Karl Lagerfeld was one the most recognised and influential man in fashion. But he also attracted, courted, and initiated controversy with his stances on fur, feminism, and the far-right.

Creator, genius, enigmatic character, precise and passionate, Karl Lagerfeld died on Tuesday 19thof February in Neuilly (Greater Paris) at the American hospital. He must be 85 years old.  “Must be”? Yes, the date of birth of Karl Lagerfeld has always remained a mystery that many, journalists and other investigative souls, have attempted to solve but alas. The artistic genius with his famous opaque sunglasses will have changed the history of fashion as well as destiny of both fashion houses Chanel and Fendi. But for Chanel, most certainly, Karl Lagerfeld had resurrected the house and dedicated his life to it.

The death of Karl Lagerfeld naturally provokes many reactions from celebrities, artists and politicians alike. Amongst them, the CEO of the luxury group LVMH Bernard Arnault says he is "infinitely saddened" and salutes "a dear friend" and "a creative genius".

We will miss the “Kaiser” and we would like to recognise that for someone as deeply involved into the fabric of the Haute-Couture industry, we are grateful he was also receptive to sustainability and environmental consciousness.

For its 2016 haute-couture Spring-Summer collection, Karl Lagerfeld, expressed he was in full diving mode into ecological fashion.

He explains his approach: «Everything revolves around ecology, but this has never been the case in luxury». He also adds, “I like the idea of bringing ecological fashion to the next level, with more elegance, in a truly luxurious version.”

Karl Lagerfeld has therefore created his own ecosystem in the heart of the Grand Palais, where the show was held, transforming the time of a parade into a luxurious relaxed setting. A minimalist wooden doll house was located in the middle of a large lawn perfectly maintained, lined with trees and a pond covered with water lilies. Everything was, in the words of the creator, "very pure, very zen."Manifesting his ode to nature, the designer has declined a whole range of beiges (straw, sand, taupe, ...) on his creations. Naturalness has had a beautiful part, especially through wood, cork and natural fabrics. His sustainable couture collection showcased not only exceptional, slow-fashion quality and craftsmanship, but designs created from more ecologically-sourced fabrics and trimmings too. He had proved once again that Haute Couture is a stunning example of how slow fashion will never lose its foothold in the industry and Haute Couture being the antithesis of fast high street fashion, sustainability is legitimately at the heart of it. And we can only hope where Lagerfeld leads, others will follow.

In different aspects of his business too, Lagerfeld proved his attachment to an eco-friendly philosophy.  In April 2019, the fashion house will move 150 employees to their new offices in Amsterdam which have the particularity to be ‘green’ and energy efficient. The Zonnewijser building, owned by real estate developer and investor Millten in partnership with Harvest Vastgoed, will be completely sealed off from the gas supply and instead be provided with Energy Label A +.

The Kaiser (Emperor in German) has died indeed, he has no descendants other than his cat “Choupette”, and all of us, who will never forget his staggering aura, an immortal legacy. 

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