Fashion designer Wolfgang Joop turns 70
One of the most successful German fashion designers, Wolfgang Joop is an incredibly versatile creator who is continually reinventing himself.
Passion as a lifestyle
Wolfgang Joop, along with Karl Lagerfeld and Jil Sander, are some of Germany's most successful fashion designers. Joop - who turns 70 this week - has become an international name thanks to his luxurious and original women's styles. However, his creative abilities extend far beyond the world of fashion.
Wolfgang Joop was born on November 18, 1944. He grew up on a farm in Potsdam, near Berlin, but moved as a child with his family to Brunswick, in western Germany. There he studied advertising psychology and art education. However, he dropped out of school and worked as an art restorer.
Style with a beautiful face
Despite early success in a fashion competition in 1970, Joop worked as a fashion journalist until his breakthrough in the 80s, when he produced a women and men's collection called "JOOP!" Famous models like Claudia Schiffer (pictured) have worked for the label. Over time the line has expanded to include jewelry, perfume and interior design objects.
A beaming business
Having transformed "JOOP!" into a prestigious label with strong revenues, the designer sold 95 percent of his shares in the company to the Wünsche corporate group for about 150 million D-Mark ($85.2 million at the time) in 1998. He continued to work as chief designer for the next three years before moving on. Today, "JOOP!" remains an important name in the German fashion world.
Joop returned to the world of high fashion in 2003, when he established the new label Wunderkind with his partner Edwin Lemberg. In 2004, the high-priced glamour-label for women was presented at the New York Fashion Week and is regularly seen on international catwalks. The label has boutiques in Berlin, Munich and Sylt.
One step at a time
The story of Wunderkind, which has featured top names like Sudanese model Alek Wek, hasn't always been easy. After a successful start, it was announced in 2011 that the company was in crisis. Shortly thereafter, Joop became the sole shareholder of the company. After closing a few of boutiques, the label celebrated a successful comeback in Paris in 2012.
Man of many facets
Joop, who was appointed Honorary Professor for Design by the Berlin University of the Arts in 1987, has many other artistic interests. His drawings have been exhibited in various galleries and museums around Germany in recent years and 100 of his works are part of the collection at the Museum of Arts and Crafts of Hamburg.
Many of many words
Joop has written for the German magazines "Der Spiegel" and "Stern and for the newspaper "Die Welt." He made his debut as an author in 2003 with the novel "Im Wolfspelz" (In Wolf's Fur), a critical look into the fashion world. Last year his autobiography, "Undressed - Aus einem Leben mit mir" (Undressed - a life with myself), which he worked on with journalist Rebecca Casati, was released.
All sorts of fashion
In addition to designing glamorous and high-priced women's fashion for his current label, Wolfgang Joop has worked in other areas of the clothing industry. In 2009, he designed support stockings for a healthcare company. Since 2010 he has been both a creative consultant for a major German department store and creator of one of the store's mid-price collections for men and women.
From the catwalk to TV
Joop worked as an actor in 2000, playing in the satirical film "Suck my Dick" by Oskar Roehler. In 2014, he became a jury member in the TV show "Germany's Next Top Model." He works alongside model Heidi Klum and creative director Thomas Hayo (pictured). Even at 70, retirement seems far away for Wolfgang Joop.