The famous — and outspoken — designer had a long and storied career, achieved a legendary stature in the fashion world, and made a fortune that’s nothing to sneeze at.
Lagerfeld first entered the industry in 1955, when he became an assistant to couturier Pierre Balmain. Afterward, he worked with Jean Patou, designing two haute couture collections a year over the course of five years. Though some of his initial collections in the 1950s and 1960s received mixed reviews, Lagerfeld continued to move up in the fashion world, eventually working with Chloé and Fendi in the 1960s.
Much of Lagerfeld’s success came from his later work as Chanel’s creative director, and he is widely credited with resuscitating the brand. He was the mastermind behind the revival of the interlocked "CC" logo of Coco Chanel, which he fashioned into a globally recognizable pattern. “Everybody said, ‘Don’t touch it, it’s dead, it will never come back.’ But by then I thought it was a challenge,” Lagerfeld said in an interview for a 2007 profile in The New Yorker.
Working in fashion for several decades brought Lagerfeld more than just financial stability: The designer was reportedly worth roughly $20 million according to some sources. And he was not afraid to live accordingly, in numerous lavishly appointed homes across the globe, including a Paris apartment, a Vermont country estate, a Monte Carlo mansion, and a posh villa in Hamburg that he put on the market for $11.65 million last year. "If you throw money out of the window, throw it out with joy," he once said of his cushy lifestyle.
In an interview with Numéro in April 2018, Lagerfeld did not put a number on his fortune, saying: “It’s not like I have 72 billion euros in my current account.” He also candidly discussed topics such as death and aging, touching on some of his loose plans for a funeral. Lagerfeld said he would “rather die” than be buried, and planned to be cremated, with his ashes spread with those of his mother (and his beloved cat, Choupette). And though he did not reveal exactly who is set to inherit his vast fortune, he did confirm that Choupette will be getting something — “among others,” he said.
“Don’t worry,” Lagerfeld added. “There is enough for everyone.”