Saturday, March 17, 2007

Karl Lagerfeld

There is an outstanding piece in the past week's issues of The New Yorker on Karl Lagerfeld

I've always been a huge fan of his work for Chanel but in the past year came to appreciate him for being the creative juggernaut that he is.

Until recently, Lagerfeld produced eight collections a year for Chanel (both ready-to-wear and haute couture), five for the Italian luxury label Fendi, and several for labels under his own name—a staggering workload. In 2002, he added an extra Chanel show to his schedule: a high-end ready-to-wear collection designed to profile the work of the Paris m├ętiers d’art, the ateliers that create, by hand, the embroideries, beading, tulle flowers, hats, and shoes on which couture designers rely.

One of the most interesting aspects of his personallity that the article discusses is the relentless manner in which he keeps up with everything going on in culture.

Lagerfeld’s determination to stay current requires ruthlessness and a lack of sentimentality. He periodically rids himself of art, objects, and places that, previously, had been sources of inspiration and pleasure. People are not exempt. “He kind of passes on, because he doesn’t like the past,” one of the people who travels in Lagerfeld’s circle says. “So then he decides you’re the past and then he just puts you in the trash.” Lagerfeld says, “I have an entourage of people of today. Because people can work with me for a hundred years but they have to stay informed. And no regrets, no remove, not saying, ‘Oh, things were better then.’ ” According to his publishing partner, Gerhard Steidl, whenLagerfeld reads a thick paperback, he tears out the pages as he finishes them.

“I throw everything away!” he declared. “The most important piece of furniture in a house is the garbage can! I keep no archives of my own, no sketches, no photos, no clothes—nothing! I am supposed to do, I’m not supposed to remember!”

My favorite quote from him is his descriptions of news headlines:

Daily headlines, he says, “give the air of the moment. It is like music, which is like the coloration of the air. It puts you in a mood. It’s for the attitude, for the feeling. That’s why it’s important.”

See also: Charlie Rose interview with Karl Lagerfeld

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