Karl Lagerfeld, pioneering fashion designer, has died

Karl Lagerfeld, the fashion visionary and creative director of Chanel, has died, the company told CNN Tuesday.

The influential German designer is best known for his work with the French luxury fashion house.

Rumors had swirled about his health after he was absent from his Chanel show in late January due to what the company described as tiredness.

Lagerfeld, who has been at the helm of Chanel since 1983, was rarely seen without his dark glasses, a silver ponytail and fingerless gloves — gaining him the reputation as the most recognizable man in fashion.

Born in Hamburg, Germany, Lagerfeld went on to win a womenswear design competition in 1954.

He got his start in Paris working under Pierre Balmain in the 1950s, moving three years later to the House of Patou. He had stints as a freelancer for Chloé and was hired by Fendi in 1967 as a consultant director, responsible for modernizing the Italian design house’s fur lines.

His decision to helm Chanel, founded by Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel, turned him into one of the most celebrated fashion designers of the 21st century.

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