Haute-couture designer Karl Lagerfeld has died

Lagerfeld was artistic director at Chanel. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 February 2019
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Haute-couture designer Karl Lagerfeld has died

PARIS: German haute-couture designer Karl Lagerfeld, artistic director at Chanel and an icon of the fashion industry with his extravagant outfits and striking catwalks, has died aged 85.
Instantly recognisable in his dark suits, pony-tailed white hair and sunglasses, Lagerfeld was best known for his association with Chanel but delivered collections for LVMH's Fendi and his own eponymous label.
Rumours of Lagerfeld's ill-health had swirled after he failed to show up at Chanel's January show in Paris for his customary bow.
Chanel chief executive Alain Wertheimer recalled how he had given carte blanche to Lagerfeld in the early 1980s to reinvent the brand, from the Chanel jacket and suit to its tweeds and two-tone shoes.
"Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of Chanel's success throughout the world," Wertheimer said in a statement.
A true craftsman who combined artistic instinct, business acumen and commensurate ego, Lagerfeld was known for his strikingly visual fashion show displays.
LVMH chairman and chief executive Bernard Arnault said the fashion world had lost a creative genius who helped make Paris the fashion capital of the world, and Fendi one of the most innovative Italian houses.
"I will always remember his immense imagination, his ability to conceive new trends for every season, his inexhaustible energy, the virtuosity of his drawings, his carefully guarded independence, his encyclopedic culture and his unique wit and eloquence," Arnault said.
Born in Hamburg in 1933, Lagerfeld made his debut with designer Pierre Balmain as an apprentice before moving on to Patou and Chloe and then Italian brand Fendi.

"KAISER KARL"
But it was after he joined French fashion house Chanel in 1983 that he gained rock-star status, credited with helping jazz up the label founded by Coco Chanel in 1910 and attracting younger clients.
On Jan. 22, Chanel hosted guests in a mocked-up Mediterranean garden for its haute-couture show. In a collection inspired by Lagerfeld's favourite period, the eighteenth century, feathers adorned new twists on the brand's classic tweed suits, which came with ankle length or fishtail skirts.
Tributes poured in from around the world for the man affectionately nicknamed "Kaiser Karl" and "Fashion Meister".
Britain's Victoria Beckham wrote on Instagram: "So incredibly sad to hear this. Karl was a genius and always so kind and generous to me both personally and professionally."
Italian fashion designer Donatella Versace, sister of the late Gianni Versace and chief designer of the Versace group, wrote: "Karl your genius touched the lives of so many, especially Gianni and I. We will never forget your incredible talent and endless inspiration. We were always learning from you."
Chanel said Virginie Viard, deputy artistic director of Chanel, would take over creative work for the brand's collections.
French celebrity online magazine Purepeople said Lagerfeld died on Tuesday morning after being taken to hospital in Neuilly-sur-Seine just outside Paris the night before.


Startup of the Week: Coco Sabon’s natural skincare

Coco Sabon. (Supplied)
Updated 21 May 2019
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Startup of the Week: Coco Sabon’s natural skincare

  • Coco Sabon’s customers are mostly Arab women aged between 20 and 40, “though we have many loyal fans that span different age groups and come from all over the world”

RIYADH: The healing and relaxing powers of nature are at the heart of Coco Sabon’s philosophy.
Launched by Dr. Cynthia Mosher — an American living in Riyadh — the skincare firm is committed to sourcing high-quality, natural oriental ingredients that provide the skin with gentle care and nourishment.
“I launched Coco Sabon in November 2015 at Alfaisal University’s first bazaar,” she said.
Mosher, who completed a bachelor of science in natural health sciences, said she hoped to do something more than simply diagnose illnesses and prescribe treatments. She also wanted to have time for other important things and people, so now she is working as an educator, training a new generation of medical students.
She encourages people to make healthy choices when it comes to ingredients they use on their bodies.
“I fell in love with formulating and creating beautiful, natural skincare products. I continued my creative journey while pursuing my medical degree, which deepened my commitment to develop ‘do no harm’ skincare based on natural ingredients,” she said.
“Layered with my admiration of Arabian culture, the rich regional ingredients, and my passion for integrative medicine, I developed a deep sense of holistic self-care that guides my formulations. My love for the fragrances, natural remedies and skincare routines of the Middle East are the heart and soul of Coco Sabon.”
There is a growing demand for Coco Sabon products. “After years of requests from family and friends to make and sell my products, I tested the waters, so to speak. We sold out of everything that day.”
She added: “About six weeks later we were invited to participate at the Gathering in Al-Bujairi in January 2016. We had a crowd of customers nonstop for three days and again sold out of everything. It was a decisive weekend. Coco Sabon was born and we have not looked back since.”
Mosher’s family and friends offered encouragement, but one of her strongest supporters was her best friend, Audrey Wilkinson. She said: “Audrey was my supporter, helper and adviser. She now works with me, formulating and producing our candles, cremes and face care line.”
Coco Sabon’s customers are mostly Arab women aged between 20 and 40, “though we have many loyal fans that span different age groups and come from all over the world.”
The brand offers a wide range of products, including soap, bath bombs, scrubs, cremes, face and body oils, perfumes and candles.
“Everything is produced by hand in small batches here in Riyadh using natural, safe and organic ingredients, sourced locally wherever possible,” Mosher said.
Coco Sabon believes in supporting local businesses and in sourcing the best ingredients possible. The store also designs its packaging and hand packages, labels and wraps each item, selling through an online store (cocosabon.com), Instagram, WhatsApp, and local popup shop events.
Mosher has also started offering workshops on making her products.
“Some might think that to be unwise because I could very well teach a future competitor,” she said. “Well, that’s true for the medical students I teach now. Should I withhold my knowledge for fear of them becoming better doctors and doing better? Of course not. The more knowledge we put out there, the better our society will be. The workshops also help build community.
“I connect with people who are curious, who want to learn how to create and how to make good choices for their health. I welcome workshop students young and older (my youngest so far was just 6 years old), and I encourage them to take what they learn and use it to improve their lives and that of others around them. If they make a business out of doing so, then good for them. We all have something to offer the world,” she said.
Mosher is happy that she created a job she loves. “Sometimes I miss practicing clinical medicine, but I remind myself that I am helping people make healthier choices for their bodies, their minds, their souls and the planet,” she said.
“That’s a special kind of medicine that I believe can help heal the world.”