The “Pope of Fashion” Albert Eickhoff, also known as the “King of Ko”, died peacefully at the age of 86 in his private home in Meerbusch (Düsseldorf). As “BILD” learns from family circles, his wife, children and grandchildren were on his deathbed. His closest friends and confidants had said goodbye to him days ago. The funeral is scheduled for Friday next week.
Albert Eickhoff († 86): The rise of the “fashion pope”
Born in 1935 to a family of general store owners, Eickhoff fell in love with fashion at an early age. After his apprenticeship as a textile merchant and various positions in fashion houses, he opened his own fashion salon in Lippstadt at the age of just 25 – together with his wife Brigitte. Initial capital: DM 4000 Secret of success: exclusive designer fashion – first from Berlin, then from Italy and France in the mid-1960s. So it was Eickhoff who brought brands such as Roberto Cavalli, Giorgio Armani, Prada and Gucci to Germany for the first time. He was already selling luxury French clothes from Chloé when Karl Lagerfeld († 85) was still creative director there.
“King of Ko”: Eickhoff made Versace a star
He proved his special flair for luxury fashion especially in the late 1970s, when he was the first to believe in the future star designer Gianni Versace (1946 – 1997). Eickhoff even persuaded him not to organize his first major fashion show in Milan or Paris, but in the German province of Lippstadt. Numerous influential figures on the fashion scene of the time, including Aenne Burda († 96), traveled to the Westphalian countryside to marvel at top models such as Jerry Hall (66) and Pat Cleveland (72) in Versace creations . The show was a complete success—and the reason for the eventual discovery of Eickhoff’s home.
In 1981, Eickhoff moved its headquarters to Düsseldorf and later moved to the special sales pavilion in the Kö-Center – which gave it the nickname “King of Ko”. From 2006, daughter Susanne Asbrand-Eickhoff and her husband Stefan took over the business. But Eickhoff continued to work until the end. According to “FAZ”, Eickhoff realized annual sales of 25 million euros in a sales area of 1050 square meters. The supermarket closed in 2013.