Éric Pfrunder, Karl Lagerfeld’s photography right-hand man, dies at 74
Éric Pfrunder, Karl Lagerfeld’s right hand-man for all his photography projects, has died at 74.
A key member of Lagerfeld’s inner circle, Pfrunder was ever present at all shoots Karl did for Chanel, Fendi and his own eponymous label, as well as editorial projects for major magazines.
“It is with profound sadness that the House of Chanel has learned of the passing of Éric Pfrunder, following a long illness,” said Bruno Pavlovsky, president of Chanel Fashion.
“From 1983 to 2019, for almost 36 years of image creation in the Chanel Fashion Division, Éric Pfrunder was an essential and active part of the creative trio he formed with Karl Lagerfeld and Virginie Viard, establishing Chanel as the ultimate luxury fashion house,” Pavlovsky added.
Back in 1987, it was Pfrunder who first suggested Lagerfeld begin shooting campaigns, when the German designer complained about his dissatisfaction with a look-book.
After that, no photo séance with Lagerfeld was complete without Pfrunder’s presence, most notably at 7L, Karl’s bookshop and photo studio at number 7 Rue de Lille on Paris' Left Bank. Pfrunder also played a key role in aiding Lagerfeld make the switch over from analog to digital photography. And took great pleasure in introducing Lagerfeld to new experimental techniques in printing and photographic paper.
Born in Algeria in the '50s and a noted cosmopolitan, Pfrunder was named joint artistic director of the house after the death of Lagerfeld in February 2019, from which time he worked alongside the house’s creative director and designer Virginie Viard. Pfrunder’s remit was to oversee advertising, marketing, films, events and digital.
After Lagerfeld’s death, Pfrunder was also entrusted with the curation of Lagerfeld’s giant archive of campaigns, portraiture, magazine shoots and studies of architecture at which Karl particularly excelled.
More recently, Pfrunder revealed to FashionNetwork.com that he had joined the board of Lukso, the blockchain startup.
“A man of conviction and loyalty, a passionate worker, "Vorarbeiter" as Karl Lagerfeld affectionately called him, Eric tirelessly devoted his exceptional eye and vision to the excellence of Chanel, generously sharing his knowledge and insights with the Image team and more broadly, the Fashion Division,” noted Pavlovsky, using the German term for foreman.
“His contribution to Chanel is immense. We offer our most sincere condolences to his family and friends,” said the Chanel CEO.
Tall, elegant and favoring crisp black tailoring like Karl, Eric will be remembered as a naturally graceful gent. Lagerfeld even designed a special rounded Edwardian high-collar white shirt for Pfrunder, made at Hilditch & Key, the London shirt-maker.
Which is how he is being remembered, as friends and colleagues begin posting remembrances on Instagram. Bidding adieu to Pfrunder, a legend in French fashion circles.
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