Age and experience are often overlooked in our youth-obsessed world. This month, legendary fashion titan Karl Lagerfeld will be presented, at the age of 82, with the Outstanding Achievement Award at the British Fashion Awards in recognition of his ‘unrivalled contribution to the fashion industry’. And it truly is unrivalled.
Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg in 1933 and educated privately and in Paris. His career began when he was hired to assist Pierre Balmain, after winning a design competition in 1955. In 1958, he moved to Jean Patou, designing two collections a year for the next five years, and began freelancing at Chloe in 1964. Since 1983 he has, of course, been creative director at Chanel, although his career has been multifacted. Lagerfeld has worked as a photographer (V, German Vogue, Harpers Bazaar), theatrical costume designer, publisher and art director. At the age of 82, he shows no sign of slowing down (why should he) and he still designs for Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous label. He is a living example of how age and experience can amount to great things.
Natalie Massenet MBE, Chairman of the British Fashion Council, commented on the award by saying, ‘Karl Lagerfeld defines outstanding. He is the champion of excellence, the master of the exceptional and one of the most iconic figures globally from our industry.’
Previous winners of the Outstanding Achievement Award include: Anna Wintour OBE (2014), Terry and Tricia Jones (2013) and Manolo Blahnik CBE (2012).