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Life In Legacy - Week ending Saturday, February 23, 2019

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Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel fashion designerGeorge Mendonsa, sailor in iconic WWII photo

Business and Science

Karl Lagerfeld (85) couturier whose designs at Chanel and Fendi had an unprecedented impact on the entire fashion industry. Lagerfeld’s career spanned 60 years. Although he spent virtually his entire career at luxury labels catering to the very wealthy—including 20 years at Chloe—Lagerfeld’s designs quickly trickled down to low-end retailers, giving him global influence. The German-born designer may have spent much of his life in the public eye—his trademark white ponytail, high starched collar, and dark glasses are instantly recognizable—but he remained a largely elusive figure. Joining luxury Italian fashion house Fendi in 1965 and later becoming its longtime creative director, he led designs at Paris’s family-owned powerhouse Chanel since '83. While at Fendi, Lagerfeld helped to create the notion of fun fur. At Chanel he served up youthful designs and sent out almost infinite variations on the house’s classic skirt suit, ratcheting up the hemlines or smothering it in golden chains, strings of pearls, or pricey accessories. He died in Paris, France on February 19, 2019.

Society and Religion

George Mendonsa (95) sailor shown kissing a woman in Times Square celebrating the end of World War II. Mendonsa was shown kissing Greta Zimmer Friedman (died in 2016), a dental assistant in a nurse’s uniform, on August 14, 1945—known as V-J Day, the day Japan surrendered to the US. People spilled into New York City streets to celebrate the news. Mendonsa planted a kiss on Friedman, whom he had never met. An iconic photo of the kiss by Alfred Eisenstaedt was first published in Life magazine and is called “V-J Day in Times Square” but is known to most as “The Kiss.” It became one of the most famous photographs of the 20th century. Several people later claimed to be the kissing couple, and it was years before Mendonsa and Friedman were confirmed to be the couple. Mendonsa died in Middletown, Rhode Island, two days before his 96th birthday, on February 17, 2019.

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