The past year has been especially rife with Karl Lagerfeld headlines — practically a new one every month — between a number of projects, including the re-launch of his eponymous clothing brand, his opulent Spring/Summer ’12 couture collection and collaborations with Orrefors glasses, Coca-Cola and Magnum Ice Cream among many others.
On the eve of Karl Lagerfeld’s latest creative project, global guest editor-in-chief of Metro newspapers, he sat down with us to explain why he works the way he does. In the process, he addressed a recent, controversial Newsweek article that accused him of being overexposed, citing his newly launched KARL collection and collaborations with Macy’s and Diet Coke as examples.
“I only saw it on a photocopy because it never made it to the newsstand here. I feel sorry for Tina Brown that her paper is really going down. It’s so skinny, it’s really what we call a ‘diet issue’ because it has no advertising and she certainly will not get advertising with this kind of article. I’ve never heard of this journalist [Robin Givhan] before, except for what she had written about Mrs. Obama, which made me already not like her — the journalist, not Mrs. Obama,” he says.
It’s no surprise he disagrees with the article.
“Then, nobody wanted to talk to this journalist. She talked to a former Chanel shopkeeper in Boston who talks about a pocket for a love letter in the Chanel jacket. Maybe Chanel did it, but the shops in Boston didn’t exist in Chanel’s lifetime so what’s that about? If this poor woman still worked there she would be fired in a minute. And then she quoted this museum person. I don’t work for museums; I work for women who want to dress. I design whatever goes with the times, the evolution, and later they can give it to the museum if they want. I saw in the article that Chanel is sponsoring this museum; I’m afraid that might be a problem if the curator says stupid things like this, huh? I hope not. Because it’s a nice museum,” he adds.
Lagerfeld says he ultimately does what piques his interest, and that strategy has worked well for him so far.
“I do what I want because I have fun, you know. I don’t want to be the designer who designs one look that you’re known for, for the rest of your life, and then he disappears and he dies — and the list is long, [it’s] what happened to Galliano and what happened to Saint Laurent and what happened to Claude Montana and other people. I like the continuity to play with fashion. I have no problem, no reason. I do Chanel, which is the French version of me. And Fendi is my Italian version. In the article, [Givhan] talked about the bag — the main thing about the bag is the shape of the initials. And I did the initials in 1965. But who cares? But with Fendi, it was the revolution of the technique of fur, and I did that with fur. She wants to make a negative article … because, I don’t know. But I couldn’t care less.”