Karl Lagerfeld: The legacy of the god of fashion

Million Euros
Million Euros
residence Paris, France
birth date September 10, 1933
Born in Hamburg, Germany
nationality Germany
date of death February 19, 2019 († 86 years)
deceased in Paris, France
Marital status single
Profession Designer, fashion designer, photographer, costume designer
size 1.78 m

How rich was Karl Lagerfeld?

Karl Lagerfeld achieved great merit by working for major fashion companies such as Pierre Balmain, Jean Patou, Chloé, Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel, Hennes & Mauritz. He was able to achieve further income with many cooperations. For the  toy manufacturer tokidoki he produced a Lagerfeld toy figure that was based on his person. 1000 copies were produced, each doll was sold for 129 euros.

He has designed motorcycle helmets and silk scarves for Les Ateliers Ruby, designed a bottle of Coca Cola Light for Coca Cola, designed caricatures for the French newspaper Libération, designed jewelry for Swarovski… He also designed the stage outfits for Madonna at her “Re  Invention Tour and has also worked for Kylie Minogue . All this, along with his fashion collections, has brought him to fame and his €450 million net worth . Until his death in February 2019, he earned at least around 40 million euros a year. The fashion designer passed away in early 2019 at the age of 85.

Heirs to Karl Lagerfeld’s fortune

In total, there are said to be seven heirs in Lagerfeld’s will. Including his four “Karl Boys”, the male muses Sebastien Jondeau, Baptiste Giabiconi, Jake Davies and Brad Kroenig. PR agent Caroline Lebar and housekeeper Françoise Caçote, who took care of the cat Choupette, and his godchild Hudson Kroenig are also said to be among the beneficiaries.

Since his death, there has also been a rumor that his beloved cat Choupette would inherit the entire fortune. However, that would not be legally possible.

Private life

Karl Otto Lagerfeld, long one of the “elders” in the fashion business, was born on September 10, 1933 in Hamburg, Germany. He got his middle name from his father Otto Lagerfeld. Otto Lagerfeld was a condensed milk manufacturer in Hamburg, the company was called Glücksklee-Milch GmbH. Karl Lagerfeld had a looser relationship with his father, and his relationship with his mother Elisabeth was distant, as he explained. However, he respected his mother very much and learned from her how to give the right answers. The fashion designer once said that he thought his parents were great. He grew up with them in wealthy circumstances.

The designer often made himself a few years younger, so he publicly announced 1938 and 1935 as the year of his birth. Bild am Sonntag published excerpts from the public baptismal register in 2008, which showed that he was born in 1933.

Karl worked and lived in Paris until the end. He also had apartments in Rome, Monte Carlo and New York. From 1989 Lagerfeld lived alone, because that was the year his partner Jacques de Bascher died, who had contracted AIDS in 1983. He had reduced his staff since 2008, and so in his last years only a maid, a cook and two chauffeurs were available around the clock. He was considered a workaholic, his fortune is estimated at 450 million euros , which he accumulated through a lot of discipline and hard work.

He was also considered very vain . His trademarks were the white braid and the dark sunglasses (they are said to have corrected his visual defect). Until the early 2000s, he was always seen in public with a hand fan. After the death of his partner, he had gained weight. Thanks to the 3D diet (designer, doctor, diet) devised by a French doctor in 2000, he lost around 42 kg in just over a year. He stated that he wanted to wear Dior Homme’s slim-fitting suits and that this was his motive for making a diet. He wore tight suits so he couldn’t gain weight. His only ambition was to continue wearing size 46/48 at Dior.

The start of his glamorous career

The Lagerfeld family changed their place of residence several times, from Hamburg to Bad Bramstedt, during the Second World War their hometown of Hamburg was bombed and devastated. In 1953 the fashion designer left Germany with his mother and moved to Paris. At the beginning he was taught there in a private school and then in the Lycée Montaigne. He then worked as an illustrator in the fashion sector. The beginning of his steep career was done. He started as a fashion designer at Pierre Balmain in 1955. A wool coat designed by him also went into production there. From 1958 to 1963 he was artistic director at Jean Patou. He then freelanced for fashion companies such as Mario Valentino, Krizia and Monoprix. At the same time he began studying art, which he gave up after three years. During the same period he worked as artistic director at Chloé, developing collections for this company until 1978. He also worked for many other big fashion companies. He also has other assets, owning several apartments in major cities such as New York, Paris, Monte Carlo and Rome.

He founded his first own company “ Karl Lagerfeld Impression ” in 1974. He also worked for the luxury fashion brand Chanel. In 1984 his own label “Karl Lagerfeld” followed, founded together with the French textile manufacturer Bidermann, which became known for extravagant knitwear.

Profitable collections

He created women’s collections under the name Lagerfeld Gallery in his own label . There was later a cooperation with Diesel for these collections, and the Lagerfeld Gallery was then also expanded to include men’s fashion. Another fashion line “KL by Karl Lagerfeld” was developed, which was even offered in the Quelle catalogue. In 2004 he designed a low-cost fashion collection and a perfume “Liquid Karl” for the large group H&M (Hennes and Mauritz) . In 2005, Karl Lagerfeld sold the Lagerfeld brand, including all licenses, to Tommy Hilfiger for 20 million euros. Today this brand is owned by the investment company Apax Partners.


The well-known top model Claudia Schiffer was discovered by Lagerfeld and was considered his muse. His other muses were Brad Kroenig, Inès de la Fressange, Lara Stone, Toni Garrn, Baptiste Giabiconi, Freia Beha Erichsen and Daria Werbowy. Heidi Klum, on the other hand, is not one of his inspirations, quite the opposite – the fashion czar is considered a big gossip and complains about the most successful German model.

Other activities

He earned quite a bit for creating a Steiff teddy bear in the typical Lagerfeld outfit. As an introduction, the teddy bear sold for 1091 euros ($1500) in the US. In the 2008 video game Grand Theft Auto IV, Lagerfeld’s voice can be heard at the beginning as the radio host of the fictional station K109 – through such assignments he has increased his fortune. He also earned money as a designer for the island of Isla Moda off the coast of Dubai. He designed apartments, hotels and shops. The project did not materialize, but he was sure to earn a salary for his work.

Last project – Hotel in Macau by Karl Lagerfeld

In 2018, Karl Lagerfeld’s latest project was scheduled to open. Together with Versace, he planned to build a 270-room luxury hotel in the Chinese province of Macau, 50 km west of Hong Kong. Macao has long been considered an up-and-coming gambling metropolis where the super-rich meet.

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