Yesterday the world was shook with the tragic news that style icon and fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld had passed away. The German-born designer graced the globe with a fashion vision that now transfigures to legacy. Lagerfeld’s influence pulsated through all spheres of the fashion industry, including jewellery. Over his career, Lagerfeld collaborated to create jewellery lines for the likes of Swarovski, Chanel, and just last month, Kaia Gerber. His creative direction not only became the brand foundations for fashion houses Chanel and Fendi. But his expert opinion - spoken from behind his signature black sunglasses and gloved fingers - dictated an era of fashion trends.
Karl Lagerfeld’s personal style can be reduced to four key items: a tie pin, a chain, shades, and gloves. Lagerfeld teaches us that style resides in statement. In simplicity. In authenticity. A single man carved a whole aesthetic belonging to himself, and himself only, through a confident approach to fashion. Whilst his cutting remarks were scorned and spurned, one cannot discredit Lagerfeld as one of the most influential figures to shape the fashion industry. In celebration of Karl Lagerfeld - his influence, his personal style, and his artistic vision - here’s six of the most important pieces of advice Lagerfeld bestowed to us over his career.
‘Elegance is an attitude’
Style does not come from your clothing and jewellery. It comes from how you wear your clothing and jewellery. How these makes you feel. How you use fashion to express yourself. Arguably one of the most important lessons Karl teaches us is that you cannot buy style or authenticity. It is something you create. You can have the most dazzling string of your pearls draped around your neck, but how you style and react with your jewellery is what establishes your sense of style. Karl encourages us to wear our clothing and jewellery with conviction. Own it and forever exude elegance, chicness and pure, unapologetic style.
‘Evolution is the secret for the next step’
Fashion is in constant flux. It evolves with society and is always chasing the next new aesthetic to shake the world. The world’s leading fashion designers are the ones that push the boundaries. They defy convention with fresh and new ways of looking at the world. Karl asserts in this poignant quote that evolution will always lead to progress. This applies to everything, from politics, to science, and of course, fashion. Where would fashion be today if kings and queens of past eras didn’t adorn themselves in jewels? Or if André Courrèges didn’t create the mini skirt in the 1960s. If it weren’t for trailblazers who decided to shake the foundations of fashion in decades past, society wouldn’t be half as accepting, diverse and creative as it is today. Take Karl’s advice, embrace evolution and who knows what will be the next biggest trend!
‘Fendi is my Italian identity, and Chanel is my French one.’
Style is born from your relationship to your surroundings. For example, your New York wardrobe is different from your French one. Be considerate with your fashion choices. Be sensitive to the way a place makes you feel, and use that emotion to evolve your style. This quote by Karl Lagerfeld epitomises the beauty of fashion in its ability to imbue your self-expression with freedom. Perhaps subconsciously, our style adapts according to the people we’re with, the places we go and our everyday experiences. I remember being captivated by a lyric which made me dress in head-to-toe black for a week. Karl teaches us to embrace life through our fashion choices. Be experimental. Be playful. In doing so, authentic style is born.
‘Fashion is something that reflects our lives and times with the shortest release because, cars, design and architecture take years to realise.’
According to Karl Lagerfeld, fashion is the most immediate form of reflection. There’s a reason trends come and go season by season. Fashion is constantly in pursuit of the next narrative, the next story to tell and the next social issue to process. Fashion reflects everything, from politics, to culture, to the environment. It keeps us informed and it keeps us on-trend. Think of certain trends in jewellery for example. More and more designers are using ethically-sourced materials due to our growing eco-conscious awareness. Many established fashion houses such as Gucci and Hermes are releasing fine jewellery lines because, like apparel, jewellery also evolves alongside societal progress. As Karl Lagerfeld comments, fashion is both a canvas and springboard in reflecting current affairs. So embrace fashion culture - it makes an even bigger statement than you may think.
‘Improvise. Become more creative. Not because you have to, but because you want to.’
In this iconic quote, Karl reminds us that fashion is all about the relationship between the clothing and the wearer. You shouldn’t follow a trend because you have to. You should adapt the trends to suit who you are and what your style is. If statement earrings aren’t your thing, or dainty and feminine necklaces don’t shake your style, then don’t feel obliged to conform. True fashion is born from nonconformity. Fashion is about creativity, diversity and experimentation. Karl encourages us to push boundaries using incredible fashion and jewellery. Even if the legend opposes sweatpants, he’d appreciate you trying to style them. The same goes for your jewellery. Be bold and confident when adorning yourself in jewellery. You’ll always look great when stimulating your creativity, so take Karl’s advice - improvise!
'Fashion is neither moral nor amoral, but it is made to cheer up.'
Above anything else, fashion should create joy. Fashion is art, and art intends to make people feel. Who could forget Celine Dion’s emotional reaction to Valentino’s Spring Couture show earlier this year? Whether you’re a fashion aficionado or enthusiast, embrace fashion and jewellery with open arms. A piece of jewellery can instil such happiness into a person’s life - through pure beauty or sentiment. Wear jewellery that makes you look and feel happy. Behind Karl’s cutting remarks lay a man with a simple love for fashion.
Images from Pinterest
In saying goodbye to Karl Lagerfeld, we say goodbye to an era of innovation and evolution, all led by a man with an incredible vision for the fashion industry. Now that you have the top advice from the King of style, discover the jewellery that will transform your style into Lagerfeld-approved fashion finesse.