The legendary Karl Lagerfeld does NOT mince words and doesn’t care about being politically correct in any language. In an interview Numero‘s Philip Utz, the 84 year-old tireless icon reads some of your faves and weighs in on #MeToo, Harvey Weinstein and others….
At your age though, isn’t it exhausting juggling three brands – Chanel, Fendi and Karl Lagerfeld – and not forgetting all your other extra-curricular activities?
“No, au contraire, it’s stimulating. All these designers who design exclusively for brands end up finding themselves completely sterilised. By dint of revisiting their own classics, they end up going around in circles, biting their own tails. As far as I’m concerned, I am obliged to constantly reinvent myself by going from one house to the next, which is what also allows me to see what’s happening next door. I’m constantly moving, which stops me from navel-gazing all day and becoming fossilised. Which suits me just fine, because otherwise I get bored.
At Chanel I have a contract to do four collections a year – two ready-to-wear and two haute couture – but in fact I do ten, between the ready-to-wear and the couture, the pre-collections, the cruise collection and the Métiers d’Art, not to mention Coco Snow– which isn’t, I assure you, a capsule collection for cokeheads, but a winter sports line – and Coco Beach, for beachwear…
Personally, I’ve never complained. And that is exactly why all the other designers hate me. They are only interested in their damn “inspirations”, they can spend an hour deciding where a button should go, or choosing sketches done by their assistants, which riles me to distraction. I am a machine. The worst thing about all of this, is that they try and blame me for their problems with working overtime. Azzedine [Alaïa], for example, before falling down the stairs, claimed that the supposedly unsustainable rhythms in fashion today were entirely my fault, which is absurd. When you are running a billion-dollar business, you must keep up. And if is doesn’t suit you, then you may as well mess around in your bedroom. I’m sorry but last year I lost my two best enemies Pierre Bergé and the other one. Azzedine loathed me, go figure. And for Pierre’s funeral, my florist asked me,
‘Do you want us to send a cactus?’
I don’t know what you’ve got against Azzedine. Personally, I loved him and you can’t say he lacked talent…
“I didn’t say that. I never said anything, I don’t criticise him, even if at the end of his career all he did was make ballet slippers for menopausal fashion victims.”
Anyway, moving on, today is International Women’s Day…
“For me Women’s Day is every day of the year. Men’s fashion does little for me. I buy it of course, and I’m delighted that Hedi [Slimane] is going to Céline but drawing a men’s collection and having to put up with all those stupid models, no thanks. Not to mention the fact with all their accusations of harassment they have become quite toxic. No, no, no, don’t leave me alone with one of those sordid creatures.”
What do you think about #MeToo?
“I’m fed up with it. I don’t even eat pig [in France the movement’s known as #BalanceTonPorc] What shocks me most in all of this are the starlets who have taken 20 years to remember what happened. Not to mention the fact there are no prosecution witnesses. That said I cannot stand Mr. Weinstein. I had a problem with him at amfAR [the amfAR Gala is organised during the Cannes Film Festival in the fight against AIDS] …
…it wasn’t of a sexual nature, but a professional one. I’ll spare you the details, but he isn’t exactly what you might call a man of his word.
I read somewhere that now you must ask a model if she is comfortable with posing. Its simply too much, from now on, as a designer, you can’t do anything. As for the accusations against the poor Karl Templar [creative director at Interview magazine], I don’t believe a single word of it. A girl complained he tried to pull her pants down and he is instantly excommunicated from a profession that up until then had venerated him. Its unbelievable. If you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model! Join a nunnery, there’ll always be a place for you in the convent. They’re recruiting even!”
When one’s a genius like you, what do you arm yourself with on a daily basis, an infinite patience and great indulgence for dealing with others, often less spirited?
“A genius? It’s you who said it. When I was young, my mother always said to me that I was stupid, she called me ‘Mule’. I’ve probably just been overcompensating ever since. And I’m not surrounded by idiots, I have fantastic teams. So, when it comes to the retarded and other ignoramuses, I don’t see them, I don’t know them…”
Apart from me…
“You give yourself too much importance.“
You can read the whole interview here…
(Photos, Karl Lagerfeld; via Numero)