Chanel’s iconic and influential designer Karl Lagerfeld died at his home in Paris at the age of 85 on Tuesday, leaving the fashion world in mourning.
Joining a host of celebrities and fashion insiders, former fashion model turned first lady Melania Trump took to social media to pay tribute to Lagerfeld.
Melania pays tribute
Melania Trump shared a sketch that Lagerfeld had drawn of a custom skirt suit he was designing for her, as well as a photo of herself wearing the outfit at the White House event and a photo of herself posing with Lagerfeld. “Today the world lost a creative genius. We will miss you Karl! #RIPKarlLagerfeld,” she captioned her post.
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Lagerfeld’s sketch, addressed specifically for “Mrs. Melania Trump,” showed a long-sleeved white suit with a “pencil skirt” and “large belt.” Trump wore the finished suit when she joined President Donald Trump in welcoming Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and wife Sara to the White House in Feb. 2017.
Lagerfeld was not one of the fashion designers who made a show of refusing to dress Mrs. Trump out of political spite after the election.
“I knew Trump before, when he was not in politics. I’m not American, but he’s a democratically elected president of America, so people have to deal with it,” he said in a 2017 interview, adding, “Fashion people are fashion, they are not politics.”
CNN noted that rumors had begun swirling about the 85-year-old designer’s health after he missed a Chanel fashion show in late January, ostensibly due to “tiredness.”
The Hamburg, Germany-born fashion designer got an early start in the fashion industry and rose in prominence among various designer houses, including becoming the director at the famed Italian furrier Fendi in 1967.
Lagerfield’s fame in the industry was cemented, however, when he was hired as the creative director for Chanel in 1983 after the French design house floundered following the death of its founder, Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel.
“[Chanel was] a sleeping beauty. Not even a beautiful one. She snored,” he said in a 2007 documentary. “So I was to revive a dead woman.”
Lagerfeld not only successfully revived the Chanel brand, but transformed it into a major global player in the fashion industry. He became nearly as famous for his own iconic look, which nearly always included sunglasses, as for that of the label he ran.