Karl Lagerfeld Sketches His Life video (Video Hyperlink:  You Tube)

In honor of the upcoming MET exhibit entitled “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Magnificence,”  we want to have fun Lagerfeld’s work as an achieved style illustrator, in addition to a prolific designer. It’s a widespread delusion that all style designers are capable of conceptualize their style designs through style illustration. The reality is that only a few designers know how one can ‘illustrate‘. It’s way more widespread for designers to execute a fast style ‘sketch‘ to get their design concept throughout.

One other false impression is that all style illustrators can ‘design’. Properly, simply because one can illustrate style doesn’t imply that they will additionally design style. In actual fact, it’s fairly uncommon when a designer can do each. As a lot of our subscribers know, there are different expertise together with draping, sample making and stitching that ought to be honed to change into a profitable designer.

Due to this fact, in lieu of the upcoming MET present, this week’s weblog submit will spotlight Lagerfeld’s work as each a designer and illustrator. And, since we simply celebrated World Creativity Day on April twentieth, we may also be highlighting different well-known designers/illustrators whose illustrations are quick turning into collector’s gadgets, which might be both bought at public sale homes or on their web sites for 1000’s of {dollars}.


The upcoming Lagerfeld MET exhibit, which runs from Might 5 to July 16, is predicted to attract style fanatics and trade insiders from around the globe desirous to expertise the life and work of certainly one of style’s most influential designers. It would function Lagerfeld’s most iconic designs, together with his re-imagined Chanel jackets, Fendi fur items and his signature equipment. The exhibit may also embody a wide range of private gadgets belonging to Lagerfeld, resembling his sketchbooks, private correspondence and pictures. That is undoubtedly a designers’s dream present come true!

Karl Lagerfeld and his treasured cat Choupette in Paris 2018. (Picture Credit score: Annie Leibovitz for Vogue)

All through his profession, Lagerfeld created a wealth of style illustrations that captured the essence of his designs and his distinctive inventive imaginative and prescient. His illustrations had been typically used to advertise his collections and even at the moment, they proceed to encourage and captivate style fanatics.

In Lagerfeld’s early illustration work, you’ll be able to see that he had a a lot tighter hand as proven within the photographs under that he did for the Home of Tiziani earlier than he joined Chanel in 1983.  His illustrations had been characterised by their daring, graphic fashion and a spotlight to element. Over time nonetheless, Lagerfeld’s hand turned looser and fewer inflexible and due to this fact was capable of seize the motion and stream of materials, typically extremely stylized, with exaggerated proportions and abstracted shapes. Regardless of their summary nature, Lagerfeld’s illustrations all the time conveyed a way of magnificence and class.

4 of the style illustrations by Karl Lagerfeld auctioned on April 18, 2019 (Picture Credit score wwd.com)

Whether or not Lagerfeld was illustrating a Chanel jacket or a Fendi robe, he all the time managed to convey the distinctive character and elegance of every piece. Used as promotional supplies, Lagerfeld’s illustrations helped construct anticipation and pleasure for every of his upcoming reveals.

Illustration of Chanel coat, fall 2017. (Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Artwork)

Lagerfeld’s work was additionally a mirrored image of his bigger inventive imaginative and prescient. He was recognized for his love of artwork, literature and tradition, and his illustrations typically integrated components from these fields. For instance, he incessantly integrated references to classical artwork, resembling Greek statues, Renaissance work or iconic monuments such because the Statue of Liberty. These references added an additional layer of depth and which means to his work and helped to determine Lagerfeld as a real visionary within the style trade.

Lagerfeld’s illustration – Anna Piaggi for Liberty of Vogue, Barney’s New York
1986 (Picture Credit score: 1stDibs.com)

The work of some style designers and style illustrators are actually extremely collectable and are bought on web sites like 1stDibs.com, iCanvas.com and Artsy.internet or in public sale homes around the globe.

Lagerfeld illustration

A Karl Lagerfeld illustration circa 1960-1970: authentic yellow and white coat coloured pencil style sketch – 10k Appraisal 
Features a Certificates of Authenticity – bought for US$6,950 (Picture Credit score: artsy.internet)

Along with illustrating his collections, Lagerfeld additionally created quite a lot of illustrations for different functions, resembling books, magazines and even a calendar, showcasing his numerous abilities and his capacity to adapt his fashion to completely different contexts. Lagerfeld’s illustrations had been all the time imbued along with his signature fashion and creativity, making them immediately recognizable as his personal.

A Chanel illustration for Girl Gaga created by Karl Lagerfeld. (Picture Credit score: Fb.com)


The MET’s Lagerfeld exhibit will consist of roughly 150 designs and in line with the MET, it’ll “discover the creative methodology and stylistic vocabulary of Karl Lagerfeld’s designs by recurring themes throughout greater than 65 years, from the Fifties to his ultimate assortment in 2019”. The Costume Institute Profit (also referred to as The Met Gala) will happen on Monday, Might 1, 2023.

Along with showcasing Lagerfeld’s designs, the exhibit will discover the designer’s life and legacy. Lagerfeld was recognized for his larger-than-life persona, his love of artwork and literature, and his tireless work ethic. The exhibit will delve into Lagerfeld’s background, together with his formative years in Germany and his rise to fame within the style trade. Guests will achieve perception into Lagerfeld’s inventive course of, his inspirations, and his collaborations with different artists and designers.

Probably the most thrilling elements of the exhibit is the chance to see Lagerfeld’s designs up shut and private. Guests will be capable to research the intricate particulars and craftsmanship that went into creating each bit. From the impeccable tailoring of his jackets to the intricate embroidery on his robes, Lagerfeld’s designs are a testomony to his ability as a designer. Right here’s a pattern of what is going to be featured within the exhibition:

Wedding ceremony gown by Chanel Haute Couture from the Fall 2005 Assortment. (Picture Credit score: Julia Hetta. Courtesy of the MET)

A Fendi coat from the autumn 2000 Assortment. (Picture Credit score: Julia Hetta for the MET)

The exhibit may also function interactive components, together with digital actuality experiences and interactive shows. Guests will be capable to discover Lagerfeld’s designs in a wide range of methods, from 3D projections to digital runway reveals. The exhibit will present a really immersive expertise, giving guests an opportunity to step into Lagerfeld’s world and see the style trade by his eyes.


A classic picture of Karl Lagerfeld. (Picture Credit score Getty Pictures)

Lagerfeld served because the inventive director for Chanel for over three many years, earlier than his passing on February 19, 2019.

Maybe certainly one of Lagerfeld’s biggest contributions to style was his capacity to maintain Chanel related. When he took over as inventive director in 1983, the model was struggling to stay recent. Nonetheless, Lagerfeld breathed new life into the heritage model, infusing it along with his personal distinctive fashion and imaginative and prescient. He was unafraid to take dangers and experiment with new concepts, whereas nonetheless remaining true to the model’s basic aesthetic.

Lagerfeld’s re-invention of the Chanel jacket, which he launched within the Nineteen Eighties, was a contemporary replace of the basic silhouette. The jacket turned an instantaneous basic and stays a staple of the Chanel assortment, in numerous iterations, at the moment. Though he’s now not with us, Lagerfeld’s affect on style will proceed to be felt for years to return.

A few of Karl Lagerfeld’s greatest moments at Chanel. (Picture Credit score: Harper’s Bazaar)


Most designers working within the style trade at the moment have little time to sit down down and illustrate their concepts. Most execute fast, tough sketches that they hand off to their assistant or to their sample maker. However there are style designers preferring to  illustrate their creations and who possess a particular expertise that allows them to higher talk their imaginative and prescient in a novel and artistic approach. Most designers will rent knowledgeable style illustrator to showcase their work for press functions, for instance, the illustration under is by style illustrator Janka Letková for Marc Jacobs. See the illustrator’s signature in small script alongside the vertical sash.


Janka Letková fashion illustration

Vogue illustrator Janka Letková for Marc Jacobs (Picture Credit score: iCanvas.com)

Different designers are extra inclined to advertise their work utilizing their very own distinctive fashion of illustration. Right here a a number of of the gifted style designers who illustrate their very own creations.


Maria Grazia Chiuri, the inventive director for Dior, creates beautiful illustrations which might be characterised by their romantic, ethereal high quality. Her illustrations showcase the main points and beautiful craftsmanship of her designs which provides an additional layer of depth and which means to her work.


Maria Grazia Chiuri fashion illustration for Dior for Georgia tour

Dior’s Maria Grazia Chiuri style illustration for recording artist Georgia  for her 2019 tour (Picture Credit score: style press.it.com)


French designer Christian Lacroix can also be recognized for his illustration expertise, that are characterised by their whimsical, and fantastical fashion. Lacroix’s illustrations typically incorporate components from artwork historical past, resembling Rococo motifs and Baroque ornamentation. His illustrations showcase his distinctive inventive imaginative and prescient and his capacity to mix completely different types and influences into his designs.

Vogue Illustrations by Christian Lacroix (Picture Credit score: Pinterest.com)


Alber Elbaz, the previous inventive director of Lanvin who sadly handed away on April 24, 2021, was recognized for his playful and  cartoonish fashion. His illustrations typically featured exaggerated proportions with vibrant, daring colours and had been used to advertise his collections. His illustrations had been thought of paintings in their very own proper.

A style illustration by Alber Elbaz for Lanvin (Picture Credit score: Pinterest.com) 


Christian Siriano is a designer who has constructed a profitable profession by creating clothes that celebrates variety and inclusivity. He’s additionally an achieved illustrator whose illustrations are playful, but with a way of drama and influence. Siriano is without doubt one of the designers who sells his limited-edition illustrations, starting from $75-$1,200, on his web site ChristianSiriano.com.

Christian Siriano showing his limited edition fashion illustrations

Christian Siriano exhibiting his restricted version style illustrations (Picture Credit score: ChristianSiriano.com)


Jean-Paul Gaultier is a designer recognized for his daring, unconventional designs. He’s additionally an achieved illustrator. Gaultier’s illustrations typically function exact, graphic traces, just like the one under that he did for Madonna’s MDNA 2012 tour.

fashion illustration by Jean Paul Gaultier 2012

Vogue illustration by Jean Paul Gaultier for Madonna’s MDNA Tour 2012

In search of extra information on style illustration as collectable gadgets, view our weblog from March 14, 21, entitled Trying For a Scorching Funding Tip? Strive Collectioning Vogue Illustrations.

With the arrival of computer-assisted design, style illustration has change into a luxurious for many style designers as of late. Nonetheless, at UoF we nonetheless promote hand drawn style by our Vogue Artwork self-discipline consisting of 27 Newbie, 39 Intermediate and 17 Superior classes. We educate how to attract, render and illustrate style design and equipment and so it’s no marvel that we’re head-over-heels excited to see the Lagerfeld present on the MET. Viva La Vogue Illustration!  Viva Lagerfeld!








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