Lagerfeld, however, could have his own old-fashioned notions at times. In the wake of the #MeToo movement, he dismissed the allegations by models who said they had been sexually harassed on the job in an interview with Numéro, saying:

I read somewhere that now you must ask a model if she is comfortable with posing. It’s simply too much, from now on, as a designer, you can’t do anything. As for the accusations against the poor Karl Templar [creative director at Interview magazine], I don’t believe a single word of it. A girl complained he tried to pull her pants down and he is instantly excommunicated from a profession that up until then had venerated him. It’s unbelievable. If you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model! Join a nunnery, there’ll always be a place for you in the convent.

The designer would never have admitted that his head could be stuck in the past, though. Though an assiduous reader of histories, he prided himself on never looking back. It was, perhaps, part of the reason for his endurance, along with his healthy lifestyle, which included no smoking or partying and a healthy diet that he began in the early 2000s, to fit into the stick-figure clothes of designer Hedi Slimane. “I don’t even have archives, myself. I keep nothing,” he told the New York Times. “What I like is to do—not the fact that I did. It doesn’t excite me at all. When people start to think that what they did in the past is perhaps even better than what they do now, they should stop.”

Lagerfeld never stopped looking forward, or working. Just about the only sign that his health was failing came in January, when he failed to take his customary bow (paywall) at the end of Chanel’s couture show. Instead, Virginie Viard, director of Chanel’s creative studio, came out. After announcing his death, Chanel said Viard would take over as Lagerfeld’s successor.

He leaves behind a vast legacy at Chanel. Last year, for the first time, the privately held company revealed its earnings. In 2017, it brought in $9.6 billion in sales, helped by its large fragrance and makeup business, and putting it in contention with Louis Vuitton for the title of largest luxury fashion house in the world. The company is recognized as well as a creative giant, and practically unrecognizable from the outdated version of Chanel that Lagerfeld took over more than 30 years ago.

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