Lagerfeld's creations shone on the red carpet

Model Claudia Schiffer with David Copperfield at the opening night of David Copperfield's show "The Magic of David Copperfield" in Paris on Sept. 29. At right is fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld. — Reuters file photo

New York — Late fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld earned himself a special place on the red carpet, designing clothes for a handpicked group of actresses and displaying his knack for melding the modern with the classic.

Until the early 1990s, big awards ceremonies like the Oscars were not really the stuff of designers like Lagerfeld, who died Tuesday at the age of 85, as most actresses chose to wear gowns by American designers whose names are now largely forgotten.

But with the emergence of TV shows focusing on show business and celebrities and the growth of the internet, those glitzy evenings took on an exponentially higher visibility.

As the head of Chanel since 1983, and a collaborator at Fendi since 1965, Lagerfeld took part in this movement but on his own terms.

Lagerfeld chose a handful of actresses that he found to be inspiring, establishing special relationships with them.

Gwyneth Paltrow, Julianne Moore, Nicole Kidman and more recently Keira Knightley, Kristen Stewart and Emma Stone have walked down the red carpet more than once wearing a Chanel outfit designed by the German-born creator known for his white hair and ponytail.

These were gowns lean on color, often just black or white, with a taste for pearls, crystals or sequins and the touch that puts high fashion ready-to-wear clothes in a class of their own.

On the red carpets of the world, Lagerfeld constantly reinterpreted company founder Coco Chanel's vision.

Chanel rarely created a dress specifically for a red carpet ceremony, although Lagerfeld did make a few exceptions, such as for Moore.

In 2015, she won the Oscar for best actress for her work in "Still Alice" and at the ceremony wore a gown that required four fittings and 500 hours of work.

At about the same time Lagerfeld told The New York Times that Moore matched his idea of the perfect woman, not just because of her looks but also for "the way she is in life." — AFP