Andy Warhol and Karl Lagerfeld have so much in common that I decided to compile a list of 10 reasons why I think Karl Lagerfeld fills in the shoes Andy Warhol left behind after his unfortunate passing in 1987. Though they’re known for their work in two different industries, the face of art and fashion have drastically changed. Colliding and becoming synonymous with music, video, media and branding, all variations of art equate to self expression and would not be the same today without these two men. Below are some of the similarities that further reveal why I believe Karl Lagerfeld is the torch-bearer of Andy Warhol style influence in the fashion world.
1. THEY CHANGED THEIR BIRTH NAMES, ONLY SLIGHTLY
Andy Warhol was born Andrew Warhola and Karl Lagerfeld was born Karl Lagerfeldt. Both dropped the last letters in their name to form the infamous monikers they are now known for, equally to adhere to commercial appeal.
2. BOTH HAVE PARENTS OF EUROPEAN DECENT
Andy Warhol‘s parents originated from Slovakia and Karl Lagerfeld‘s parents in Hamburg. Even though Hamburg is in Germany, it still remains a part of the European Union. Both can attest to having European ties.
3. ILLUSTRATION WAS THEIR MAJOR
Warhol earned a Bachelor of Fine Arts in pictorial design at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, while Lagerfeld majored in drawing at the prestigious Parisian secondary school, Lychée Montaigne. Both are celebrated artists in pop culture.
4. BOTH STARTED GARNERING PUBLIC RECOGNITION IN THE FIFTIES
Andy Warhol became a professional artist who began showing his unique works at exhibitions in the fifties. Karl Lagerfeld gained artistic prominence in the fashion world after winning the coats category in a design competition sponsored by the International Wool Secretariat in 1955.
5. THEY BECAME WORLD RENOWNED BY THE 80’S
By the eighties, Warhol had made so many accomplishments in the art world that he was making regular appearances on television and in the media. That is, when he wasn’t creating more artwork. Similar to Warhol, Lagerfeld had become so popular in the fashion industry by the eighties that he was working with numerous fashion outlets and overseeing design production for various noteworthy brands of the time.
7. ART RELATED SCANDALS WERE UNAVOIDABLE FOR THESE TWO
Commissioned to produce art for the Philip Johnson New York State Pavilion during the 1964 New York World’s Fair, Warhol publicly exhibited his work entitled 13 Most Wanted Men on the building’s exterior rather than in an art gallery. Consisting of images selected from an NYPD booklet that contained 13 of the most wanted convicts of 1962, Warhol felt that he was fulfilling the request to represent “something to do with New York.” The 20-foot tiled Masonite mural was composed of frontal and profile mug shots of the convicts. Within a few days of the fair’s opening, officials had it whitewashed with aluminum-silver house paint.
Known for pushing the boundaries on skirt lengths and bodily exposure through fashion since the sixties, Lagerfeld gained particular notoriety in 1993 when his Fendi runway show featuring strippers and an italian porn star incited a walk out from U.S. Vogue editor-in-chief, Anna Wintour.
7. BOTH ARE KNOWN FOR THEIR COLLABORATIONS
Andy Warhol was notorious for his collaborations with fellow artists like Gerard Malanga, Billy Apple, and Robert Watts. He also became significantly known for his paintings of brand staples like Campbell’s Soup Cans, Coca-Cola bottles, and celebrities such as Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley, Marlon Brando, and Elizabeth Taylor.
It’s almost easier to name fashion brands Karl Lagerfeld hasn’t worked with. Besides designing pieces for his namesake collection, Lagerfeld has collaborated with Diesel, H&M, Chanel, Chloé, Fendi and Macy’s. He has not only contributed design work but numerous photographic efforts as well.
8. THEIR PUBLIC IMAGES ARE PARTICULARLY DISTINCT
Though different, their looks are instantly recognizable to the public. Warhol, with his platinum white hair, oversized glasses, striped or black shirts and black jackets. Lagerfeld, with his platinum white hair, black sunglasses, white collared shirts and predominately black blazers. These are not only an account of a signature style. They’re looks that define the very character and presence of these men.
9. THEY’RE SURROUNDED BY CELEBRITIES
Known for a fascination with celebrity, as well as the portraits he created of them, Warhol kept himself surrounded in famous company. He’s been seen with Grace Jones, Liza Minnelli, Dolly Parton, André Leon Talley, Raquel Welch, John Denver and Truman Capote, to name a few.
It’s hard to find a celebrity Lagerfeld has not crossed paths with. Having Elizabeth Taylor and Doris Duke as noted fans of his designs, he’s also met and been seen with the likes of Rihanna, Britney Spears, Sarah Jessica Parker, Blake Lively, Nicki Minaj and Rita Ora. A fraction of the celebrities he’s usually spotted with.
10. BOTH HAVE BECOME UNFORGETTABLE PIONEERS OF THE ART WORLD
Practically pioneering pop art and a various array of art techniques, Andy Warhol will forever be remembered for his many priceless works that created a new format for creation in the industry.
Inciting brand partnerships of high fashion labels with less notable ones, Lagerfeld is responsible for inspiring a lot of mash-up‘s in the fashion industry and continues to gain cultural significance as a global trendsetter of style business practice.
Because of their surprising similarities, I’ll always wonder if Lagerfeld personally sights Warhol as an inspiration. We’ll probably never find out, but the truth about both of these men remains clear. They may not be precisely the same, but their cultural influence on ALL aspects of the art world is equally as grand. The facets of both industries have changed, but their impact stays consistent. Karl Lagerfeld is like Warhol. Mysterious, timeless, creative, socially-celebrated and copied, never duplicated.
— Karl Lagerfeld (@KarlLagerfeld)