In February, the fashion world one of its most beloved figures as Karl Lagerfeld passed away at the age of 85. Lagerfeld had served as creative director of Chanel since 1983, and up until his death he was still churning out around 14 collections per year, in addition to pursuing his career as a photographer and maintaining his role as the creative director of Fendi, which he first took on back in 1965. (Not to mention running his own namesake label.) During that time, Lagerfeld amassed a devoted following that included everyone from Rihanna to Cindy Crawford (and her daughter Kaia Gerber, for that matter). Here, six of his muses from over the years pay tribute to the late, great designer.
Few people get to know one legendary designer, let alone two in quick succession—but Ellie Bamber did just that, walking in Chanel’s Métiers d’Art show in Paris shortly after her role in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals put her on everyone’s rising-talents list. Both Ford and Karl Lagerfeld, Bamber observes, treated clothes in an extremely exacting way, using them to tell a story. “I also try to reflect my moods when I get dressed,” she says. “I wear a Chanel item almost every day, whether it’s just a bag or earrings, even with trainers. Karl was very good at updating tradition with a buzz of youth.” And yet, when it came time for her to hit the runway, Bamber found herself shaking with nerves. “Karl came to me and said I should just think of it as playing a role,” she says. “The show was at the Ritz hotel, where I had never been, but it was such a grand space that I thought of it as a set. And then I let the dress transform me like a costume would. All of a sudden I was a Parisian lady waltzing in for lunch.”