Karl Lagerfeld was born in Hamburg, Germany. The date of his birth is a little unclear. According to him he was born on September 10, 1938, but records of a local christening center date his birth to 1933. His original name is Karl Otto Lagerfeldt. He changed his last name to Lagerfeld since he believed it sounded and looked "more commercial".
Lagerfeld moved to Paris in 1953 where he worked as a design assistant at Balmain. Later on, from 1958-1963 he pursued a career as a freelance designer and in 1962 opened a small shop in Paris. Then in 1983 he joined Chanel and eventually became their lead designer. Many accredit him to be the one that brought Chanel back to the pinnacle of high fashion.
Lagerfeld designs have always been somewhat "edgy", and have tested many peoples comfort levels. Nevertheless he is one of the most influential fashion designers of the 20th century. In November 2004 he worked with Swedish fashion retailer H&M and designed a limited collection for them. According to H&M the collection sold out in only two days.