A spotlight on: Karl Lagerfeld

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Karl Lagerfeld is a creative genius. Okay that’s great, now that we’ve got that out of the way I can get onto all the reasons why I don’t like him. No, perhaps that’s not entirely fair. Lagerfeld was born in Germany in 1933, so he’s now over 80 and still is considered a god in the fashion world. He is the head designer and creative director for Chanel and for Fendi, as well as his own fashion house. His clothes have often wowed the world with their beauty, simplicity and their staying power. As Coco Chanel herself once said “Fashion fades, style endures” and I think this is evident in Lagerfeld’s collections.

Onto the man himself, he is instantly recognisable; the white hair – which apparently is naturally grey and he dyes it white himself – tied back in a ponytail, the high-collared starched white shirts and of course the dark black glasses that always sit on his face. It’s pretentious, but when you’re Karl Lagerfeld I feel this probably ceases to be an issue. I can’t help but wonder how many of those suits he actually has, or pairs of glasses for that matter. However, when you read interviews about him, he seems to be the ultimate creature of habit – in one he claims that he only sleeps seven hours a night and that all he drinks is Diet Coke. Nothing else. This seems a little preposterous to me;  I think the man is a little off kilter. He says he hates routine and yet if you read anything about him, he seems to do nothing but.

I think one of the times I first thought he might be a bit of an oddball is that he has everything he wears/touches washed every time. He has his bed changed every day because apparently there’s nothing better than getting into clean sheets every night – environmentally unfriendly methinks. Having said that, Lagerfeld has never been afraid of controversy on that front, continually using fur in Chanel’s collections long after a lot of other fashion houses had begun to fade it out. He did, however, make a statement in 2011 saying that fake fur was becoming so good that it was difficult to tell the difference in fashion anymore. Whether this meant that he would use it, or that he never would, remains to be seen.

Apparently designing clothes is not his only talent. Back in the early-2000’s he dropped nearly 100lbs in weight using the advice of a dietician and thus something that has now become known as The Karl Lagerfeld Diet was born – it’s even been released as a book. Again you sort of know what the contents is going to be like because in the introduction it states ‘if not being able to wear new, trendy small-sized clothes does not cause you any regret, then this book is not for you.’

I know this article might seem as if I can find nothing good about the man but that’s not true. As I stated first he is a great artist and some of his work is amazing. I remember I once saw a couture Chanel dress in the pages of Vogue and my eyes nearly fell out of my head. He gets the final say on all the models and outfits that go on Chanel’s runways and he gets the executive creative say on the collections. His influence on the fashion world is undeniable; Chanel’s name – and was long before Lagerfeld came along – has always been synonymous with timeless, classic fashion. He has managed to maintain its popularity whilst also helping the house appeal to new audiences and potential buyers. Artists often make headlines for having eccentricities and oddities about them and I guess Lagerfeld is no different. I guess to me, he just seemed interesting because they’re more numerous, and as far as the Diet Coke goes, a little weirder than some of the others I’ve heard.

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