Our header picture is of the young Karl Lagerfeld at Chloe. Lagerfeld was creative director of Chanel, the French house founded by Gabrielle Chanel, for 36 years. In 1983, Alain Wertheimer, the co-owner of Chanel, asked Lagerfeld to breathe new life into the iconic French house, which had been in sleepy decline since Coco Chanel’s death at the age of 87 in 1971.
Lagerfeld obliged in spectacular fashion and reinterpreting the house founder’s iconic tweed skirtsuits, little black dresses, and quilted handbags. “What I love best in life is new starts,” Lagerfeld once said. In addition to his duties for Chanel, Lagerfeld was the creative director of fur and ready-to-wear at Fendi, a position he assumed in 1965.
He cut an indelible figure with his omnipresent sunglasses, black leather gloves, Chrome Hearts rings, and powdered white ponytail. In the early 2000s, he shed nearly 100 pounds in order to wear the narrow-cut suits designed by Hedi Slimane for Dior Homme, and wrote a book about the process with his doctor called The Karl Lagerfeld Diet.
Recently, he’s used his name to speak out on politics and social commentary, skewering the German Chancellor Angela Merkel for her immigration policies and the Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein in the wake of his sexual misconduct scandal.
Karl Lagerfeld claimed he was born in 1938. Chanel said 1933 while the Hambourg Geneaology Society pegged him on September 10, 1935, in Hamburg, Germany, to Otto Lagerfeld and Elisabeth Bahlmann. We tried them all and felt that the HGS was right.
In 1954, at barely 21, Lagerfeld won the International Wool Secretariat in the coat category, sharing the stage with Yves Saint Laurent, who won for his dress design. The recognition landed Lagerfeld a job with the couturier Pierre Balmain, where he designed for films and dressed stars including Sophia Loren, after which he became head designer at Jean Patou.
In 1963, he began freelancing for Gaby Aghion at Chloé, considered to be France’s first ready-to-wear label, and took a full-time spot there in 1974, but not before he assumed the creative director job at the Roman furrier label Fendi, a post that he held until his death.
He owned 300 iPods, each one programmed with different music. The only collection he never de-acquisitioned was his “zillions” of books. His home in Biarritz was said to hold “three miles” of them. So passionate a bibliophile was Lagerfeld that in 1999 he opened a small bookshop in Paris’s seventh district, 7L, and the following year launched an imprint with the German publisher Steidl.
We have rectified Herr Lagerfeld’s chart to 01 Libra, “Cyclists racing a high banked track” in the Hyperion Symbols highlighting the accelerated energies that he needed to control for deft application in competitive world market of high fashion.
Libra is ruled by Venus that is conjunct the eleventh-twelfth house of spanning large organizations, secret enemies, and the public. It is also a planet of acquistiveness, and Lagerfeld with his miles of books, hundreds of iPods, and other sundries squirrelled away hidden in his house, was nothing but acquisitive. His Pluto also is on the tenth-eleventh house cusp showing that his ability to transform his career and the House of Chanel into something popular and well-regarded was of of his many feats.
Pluto in Cancer is sextile the Moon that was key to him understanding and directing women’s fashion sense. Pluto is also sextile his Ascendant, and his chart shows that Lagerfeld loves the dynamic business of fashion particularly as Mercury in Libra is conjunct the Ascendant and by a translation of light sextile Pluto.
Like his couture, Lagerfeld’s chart is well integrated thanks to the Grand Trine in Water that unites the whole. He does have an opposition –Saturn to Venus — so he is not a Splay, but more of a locomotive, driving one the Western half of the chart from his own ambitions and talented resources on the right.
Thus his natural disposition, what unites the left and right, is his desire to please women and also established and monied men in business, for whom he toiled. His seventh house is empty, so collaboration was not his strong suit.
Uranus in Taurus is square the Moon in Aquarius showing how his mother’s cold approval was a driving force for his career and the reversal of the two planets exaltations, that is in turn squared by Mars in its ruler of Scorpio shows how making Mommy look good was something he learned early on and capitalized later upon.
Venus rules the kidneys and pancreas, it is no surprise that he suffered at great age from those afflictions. The speculative death chart, shows how the cancer had probably lingered for 2.5 years before it was fully acknowledged in Lagerfeld’s last attempt in outmanuevering the fates. He died in Paris, on February 19 2019.