Haute-couture designer Karl Lagerfeld has died

Lagerfeld was artistic director at Chanel. (File/AFP)
Updated 19 February 2019

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.


Lebanon’s style set gets serious over forest fires

Thick smoke had been seen drifting over the outskirts of Beirut. (AFP)
Updated 16 October 2019

Lebanon’s style set gets serious over forest fires

DUBAI: Lebanese influencers are coming together on social media to raise awareness about the forest fires blazing through parts of the country in recent days.

Influencers including Lana El-Sahely, half-Australian Jessica Kahawaty and Nathalie Fanj have all taken to Instagram to lament the lack of support for Lebanon’s Civil Defense, which has been battling to quell the flames since Monday.

On Monday night, fires ripped through the Chouf mountains and northern Metn in Mount Lebanon, reaching the forests of Zgharta in the north. Firefighters from the Civil Defense tried to put out flames, but people woke at 3 a.m. only to see them revived and spreading from one region to another due to strong winds. Consequently, civilians had to intervene to extinguish the fires themselves, as government forces were not able to reach all burning areas.

Thick smoke had been seen drifting over the outskirts of Beirut, the mountainous Chouf region to its southeast, and the southern city of Saida.

In the Chouf, an area famed for its forests, a volunteer firefighter lost his life trying to put out the flames, his family said.

El-Sahely took to Instagram with a sober post — an image with white text saying “My Lebanon” in both English and Arabic against a stark black background.

“What is happening today is a national and a natural disaster and (it) is my priority to address (it) as a Lebanese. A huge fire is raging through Chouf and it has already destroyed forest and agricultural land and houses and threatens more towns and our cedar reserve. My heart and prayers go out to Chouf, to our Lebanese mountains, to its residents and to every tree bird and flower. Please take a moment to pray for (the) safety of my Lebanon, land and citizens. I hope we wake up to better days soon,” she captioned the post.

For her part, Lebanese-Australian model Kahawaty shared a powerful image of trees ablaze with the words “Save Lebanon” superimposed over the flames.

“I just woke up in the US to the most chilling news in my beloved Lebanon. Fires are raging through this already fragile country destroying homes and killing families. The country is ill equipped to deal with the magnitude of such a disaster bringing the people and rescue teams to their knees. My heart aches and I feel numb going through all the photos and videos watching helplessly… My thoughts are with everyone affected. God help them,” Kahawaty posted.