Karl Lagerfeld’s ground-breaking high-street collaborations

Mia Steiber 20 February 2019 NEWS

Image: Instagram user karllagerfeld

We're looking back at some of Karl Lagerfeld's industry leading work – his high-street collaborations.

Brilliant, quirky, unique and, at times rather problematic, Karl Lagerfeld is iconic. News was received in the late hours of 19 February AEST that the 85-year-old designer had passed away. According to reports, the Germany-born designer succumbed to an illness he'd had for weeks.

Until his death, Karl Lagerfeld was working as the creative director for both Chanel, Fendi and also his own eponymous brand. Despite being manned by the same creative, each label retained it's own unique style and identity, a reflection of the undeniable skill, creativity and design mastery of Lagerfeld. Having worked with Chanel since 1983, he's been credited for bringing Chanel into the modern era and making the label what it is today.

A brand in himself, Lagerfeld is famed for his dark suit and white shirt uniform, paired with his long white ponytail and dark glasses. An animal lover, he led Chanel to ban the use of exotic animal skins and he had a deep affection for his adorable cat Choupette, who has actually featured in much of his work.

A man both somehow behind his time but also so far ahead, Karl Lagerfeld was one of the first high-end designers to embrace the high-street. His own brand is sold at stores like THE ICONIC and David Jones, not just luxury retailers like Farfetch. He was also one of the first to fully welcome collaborations with high-street brands.

These days, almost every designer has collaborated with the high street in some way. Just look at recent collabs like Preen x Debenhams or the famed Balmain x H&M partnership. But this concept was pioneered by Lagerfeld – where other designers turned up their noses, Lagerfeld saw only opportunity.

In honour of Karl Lagerfeld and his contributions to the fashion industry, today we're looking back at some of his finest high-street fashion and beauty collaborations.

1. Shupette for Shu Uemura

This beauty collaboration was a crowd favourite. It was fun, whimsical and hard to forget. A favourite piece was the adorable palette that came packaged in a fluffy, cat-like makeup bag.


2. Karl Lagerfeld for H&M

Before the Alexander Wang or the Balmain collab, there was the 2004 Karl Lagerfeld collab. It was ground-breaking. This marked one of the very first times a luxury designer collaborated with a high-street store, and this was the first ever designer collaboration for H&M.


3. Vans x Karl Lagerfeld

This 2017 collaboration was a seamless black and white blend of both design aesthetics. The collab featured "Karl" branded vans sneakers and a quirky version of a houndstooth print that used Lagerfeld's face as a motif.


4. Coke x Karl Lagerfeld

If you know anything about Lagerfeld's personal tastes, you'll know he was a big Coca Cola drinker. He lent his image to a pink, white and black Coca Cola bottle in 2011.


5. ModelCo x Karl Lagerfeld

One of his latest collaborations, in 2018 Lagerfeld released a line of intuitive and very pink cosmetics with Australian brand ModelCo. This one is still for sale, you can take a look here.

Images: Supplied by brands


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