Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Karl Lagerfeld, there is no one else but you

The Times Online has a great interview with Karl Lagerfeld. I have read many interviews with the designer, but none of them has come close to really capturing his intelligent but self-deprecating personality as the author has done here.

Here are some highlights:

- “I’m mad for books,” he says, sitting motionless behind his black Dior shades. “It is a disease I won’t recover from. They are the tragedy of my life. I want to learn about everything. I want to know everything, but I’m not an intellectual, and I don’t like their company. I’m the most superficial man on Earth.”

- “I have no problem with journalists – many are friends,” he says. “Only if they are really stupid, or if they’ve got bad breath, or if they smell. Yesterday I had a problem. I said, ‘I’m sorry, you’ve got to tell this woman that she needs to be taken away. Her smell is not possible.’ ”

- “They sent a private jet,” he says. “I said, ‘It’s too small. I need a bigger plane.’
It’s fun, no?”

- Did he not like the idea of boarding school? He screws his face up in disgust. “It was out of the question. I hated the idea of being in a dormitory with other people. No, no, no,” he says, hitting the table as he speaks. “My sisters were sent away because my mother thought they were boring. I was not boring.”

On how he went for a walk with his uncle, and when they passed by a famous German poet, Lagerfeld didn't recognize him:
- “I was 10 and he slapped me in the face. I had never been slapped in the face by anybody. When we returned to the house, my uncle shouted at my mother, ‘Your son is as shallow and superficial as you!’ I will never forget that.”

- "The worst thing is when friends say, ‘Remember the good old days?’ Forget about the good old days! That just makes your present second-hand. What is interesting is now. If you think it was better before, then you might as well commit suicide immediately.”

-I’m just trying to get behind the many faces of Karl, I suggest. He laughs. “This reminds me of when Annie Leibovitz photographed me for Vanity Fair. I didn’t know her very well then, and she said, ‘I have to spend three days with you to see what’s behind.’ And I said, ‘Annie, you’re wasting your time. Look at what you see.’ ” He casts his hand theatrically over his face. “There is nothing else.” Why do you want to be known as superficial? “I like that image. I don’t want to look like an old teacher.

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