Karl Lagerfeld is one of the most recognizable and enduring Fendi creative director in fashion. He is an industry legend and has one of the biggest influences on fashion today. He has released thousands of pieces, conducted hundreds of runway shows, has his own label, and releases a collection with Chanel every year. However, it’s his 50-year long relationship with the Italian powerhouse Fendi that is truly remarkable. No designer has remained attached to a particular label for so long.
WHEN KARL LAGERFELD BECAME FENDI CREATIVE DIRECTOR
That wasn’t the only contribution Karl Lagerfeld provided to Fendi and the fashion world. Fendi introduced a ready-to-wear collection in 1969 and it was a big departure from industry norm. At that time, most fashion houses only produced haute couture. His work paved the way for brands like Louis Vuitton and Prada to enter the luxury market.
By 1977, he was the Fendi creative director for Women’s Ready-to-Wear and Fur divisions at Fendi. Karl Lagerfeld was instrumental in turning a leather and fur company into the fashion powerhouse it is today. Before he came on board, Fendi had just been a 40-year company trying to gain foothold in the market. Today, it has a reported revenue of $1 billion.
Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld have been under some scrutiny because of their use of real fur. Fendi started out as a fur and leather business which has led to being a core aspect of the company’s revenue and product lines. Karl was one of the first people to use “poor” fur in his designs. The real fur was sourced from rabbit or squirrel, which were more commonly available than other animal fur.
Lagerfeld also didn’t line his fur coats and garments so they were lighter and more wearable. This appealed to the modern customers because of the fresher design and feel of the apparel.
While Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld have been constantlcy criticized for their use of fur and the near obscene cost of the prized Fendi fur coats, the brand has thrived over the years and continues to be a dominant presence in the fashion world.
FENDI AND FUN?
The brand name Fendi is still associated with fun and you can see the theme reflected in all its accessory designs and clothes. Fendi released Bag Bugs, Karlito handbag charms that can easily cost well over $1500. They are very popular and despite the high price, they sell like hot cakes and are often sold out at major department stores, like Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. That is the appeal of both Fendi and Lagerfeld.
One of the reasons why Karl Otto Lagerfeld has been successful as a Fendi creative director and designer is that he constantly looks forward and is very in-tune with modern tastes and preferences. Despite being over 80 years old, his designs are still fresh and innovative. He evolves at a constant pace and as the creative director at Fendi, he ensures the company evolves with him.
The relationship between Fendi and Lagerfeld is a stuff of legends. No designer has ever remained connected to a single brand for half a century. Very few designers have the ability to keep up with the times as Lagerfield does.