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Tuesday, February 19, 2019 8:00am ET by  
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Legendary fashion designer and visionary Karl Lagerfeld dies aged 85

Iconic fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has passed away at the age of 85 in Paris.

Lagerfeld was a prolific visionary, known for his distinctive look in his later years, almost always wearing dark suits, a pony-tail and sunglasses. About his appearance, he quipped: "I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that."

The German designer, who was the creative director for both Chanel and Fendi, was one of the industry's most high profile figures, working tirelessly right up until his death.

The superstar of the fashion industry was born Karl Otto Lagerfeldt in 1933 in pre-war Germany, but altered his surname to Lagerfeldt, believing it sounded "more commercial".

He emigrated to Paris as a young teenager, and became a design assistant for Pierre Balmain, before going on to work at both Fendi and Chloe. However, he was best known for his association with the French fashion label, Chanel.

He began his long career their in 1983, a decade after Coco Chanel had passed away. Lagerfeld's designs injected a whole new life into the label, adding a touch of glamor to the more prim tweed suits they had previously been known for.

He was also a great supporter of up-and-coming designers, like ex-Spice Girl and British designer, Victoria Beckham.

Lagerfeld also designed collections for his own brand and collaborated with high street brand H&M.

The fashion designer had been unwell for several weeks, and had missed a number of fashion shows.

Many fashion industry and entertainment stars have begun paying tribute to the icon today, with his longterm friend and fellow Italian designer, Donatella Versace, amongst them.

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"Karl your genius touched the lives of so many, especially Gianni and I. We will never forget your incredible talent and endless inspiration. We were always learning from you." - Donatella Versace

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"So incredibly sad to hear this. Karl was a genius and always so kind and generous to me both personally and professionally. RIP 💔x vb" - Victoria Beckham

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“Evolution is the secret for the next step” - rest in peace, Karl Lagerfeld ❤" - David Beckham

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“To design is to breathe, so if I can’t breathe I’m in trouble” RIP @KarlLagerfeld#karlargerfeld 😢" - Henry Holland using one of the late designer's own quotes. 

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"Karl Lagerfeld didn’t breath oxygen. He breathed fashion. He had both an artistic and a business eye that defined what a modern fashion house should be. He lived one hundred lives and his creative brain was always looking at the future instead of looking at the past.

"I will miss his energy, his dedication and love towards an industry that crowned him as the greatest Kaiser. Thank you for all the unforgettable fashion memories and inspiration you created.

"Thank you for all the advice you have given me in all of these years. RIP my dear Karl, you will be terribly missed." - Elle Magazine Editor in Chief, Nina Garcia

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"You bought so much beauty, style and grace to this world. Karl, you will forever be a true legend, an icon, an inspiration #KarlLagerfeld" - Kris Jenner

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"You made me feel like a princess. I never quite understood what you saw in me but I am forever grateful for the support that you and Chanel have given me over the last 15 years. Rest In Peace Karl, you were a true genius and will be missed, so much." - Lily Allen

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"RIP @KarlLagerfeld, thank you for your contribution to art and to fashion x" - Paloma Faith

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"One of the coolest moments of my career was shooting my 1st high fashion shoot with you as the photographer. Every detail mattered to you. Thank you for the inspiration you’ve given us all. You will truly be missed. Rest In Peace Legend #KarlLargerfeld #Chanel ❤️" - Ciara

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