Karl Muses On Dior, Givenchy, Balmain, His Hair, Fax Machines And...Chocolate!

26 April 2011

It’s a shame Karl Lagerfeld is so shy with his words because he’d be terrific at giving great quotes, don’t you think? Excuse the sarcasm but we couldn’t help but giggle in delight when reading his recent conversation with W magazine, conducted over sliced pineapple and Karl’s kind-of-water, Diet Coke, just before he joined the Magnum party in New York alongside his sweet ice-cream muse Rachel Bilson.

Ms Bilson, as previously reported, stars in three commercials for the ice-cream brand directed by Super-Karl (playing an art student, a ballerina and a model) and also starring a certain Mr Baptiste Giabiconi but we’ve never heard of him working alongside Karl so let’s move on! As it customary to any Karl-associated event an eclectic selection of New York’s great and good attended including Olivier Theyskens, Leigh Lezark and Anna Wintour. ‘I was just so excited,’ Bilson told WWD. ‘I mean, I got to work with Karl Lagerfeld!? I would have done anything. And eating ice cream isn’t too bad!’ You’re right there, Bilson!

But what does Karl think about ice-cream? ‘My father was a milkman’, he told W. ‘He produced Carnation milk in Europe under different names, so I like to say he was a milkman. And ice cream is made with milk, no?’ True, true but does Karl eat the sugary stuff? ‘I would love to if I was allowed to eat sugar, but my doctor told me that sugar wasn’t needed for me so I haven’t touched it in ten years. But I like chocolate. I don’t eat it, but I like the smell of it. People can drink with their eyes; I can eat with my nose. I would love to have a perfume based on chocolate.’

Not that sugar is not an important issue but does Karl have anything to add to the ongoing debate over who should succeed John Galliano at Dior? ‘Well I’m not a consultant there, but I think Riccardo Tisci would be good, and then Haider Ackermann at Givenchy—not because they are friends of mine, but because they are good.’ Ooh, what happened there? Doesn’t Karl think any more that Ackermann should be his own successor chez Chanel?  ‘Not especially. It’s not his world I don’t think.’ OK, so what about Christophe Decarnin’s departure from Balmain? ‘Forget about it! This was a job done by a fashion editor. I don’t even know the name of the man who did it, so don’t ask me about that.’ That’d be Christophe, Karl and for his successor just read our morning report like you always do!

Is he thinking of having his infamous ponytail cut? ‘No, because I’m afraid it won’t grow again. And I’m not very gifted for hairdos. This is the quickest thing in the world. It takes less than five seconds. I have someone who comes to the house and washes it, puts in the dry shampoo, and takes care of it because I have no time. I don’t even have time to go to the dentist. I’m the one who wanted to do all of it, so I can’t complain.’ So, is a vacation in his diary? ‘I’m not an employee who goes to the office every morning at the same time. Then, vacations are not needed. I’m like a rock singer with one-night stands on the road. I’m here for two days in New York; I leave in the morning early. I come back for Anna Wintour’s party at the Met. I’m lucky that I can do all these things in the best conditions. I don’t have to struggle for that. I don’t have to discuss budgets. I don’t do meetings. At Chanel, there are no meetings. At Chanel, we do what we want, whenever we want and it works. And Fendi is the same.’

Finally, is the iPod-obsessed designer going to give in to the 21st century and give up his beloved fax machine for a laptop? ‘There are people who only have a fax because of me! It’s very easy to explain: For me, sketching and writing are the same thing. It’s a physical thing—I hate to be without paper and pencil in hand. And I write like a talk. I can put my way of talking on the paper exactly the same way. The machines they tried to make where you write directly on computers are not perfect. The minute they’re perfect, I will use them.’

Steve Jobs, are you reading this?


--- Kiki Georgiou


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