|U.K. Elle April 2012
Strange man, Karl Lagerfeld. Lives in Paris in a house. The house next door is his too. That kitchen is used. He doesn't want to live in a house that has a functioning kitchen. Strange. I guess that's one way that he keeps the girlish figure that he worked so hard for a few years back.
He can make a dress, though. And an empire. I remember reading that when his Tokyo store open, the lines started days before, and once open, the adoring Japanese fashion fanatics, bought it out. That day.
Well into his age, he works. He says, 'You know, working hard means you work 90 per cent for the garbage can. I'm a garbage-can person.' It's hard to believe that for all that he produces every year. It is food for thought. How much do I produce that goes into the garbage can? According to this standard, I would say it is an excellent one, I fail miserably ... my trash can is not overly used. Maybe I should start using it more.
He, of course, is very French. The smock he wears to design in is from a 17th Century sketch; and his hair is fashioned after a French spy, who lived as a man and woman. He does not like to travel and says, 'I prefer to imagine the world from my window ... it's the idea of India.' In this, he reminds me of William Wordsworth, the English Romantic poet. Wordsworth wrote picturesque, pantheistic poetic portraits of his beloved Lake District. Byron, his contemporary, lashed out at Wordsworth's argument that he loved England more than he as he never left it; whereas, Byron argued he loved it more because he left and came back. Of course, Lagerfeld's love is not of nature, rather of ... design. He is, like the Romantics, an egoist. Whichever side, cosmopolitan as Byron was as he travelled through the world, or provincial as Wordsworth was as he sat in his chair and admired the view, both write about themselves in their world. They are not writing about what they are seeing, they are putting themselves down on paper. And I argue that Lagerfeld is the same. To look at him, we see a blank canvas. It can be said since he always wears the pony tail, and the sunglasses, and the exaggerated collar and cravat. But what he does ... ah, that is anything but blank.
In the end, Karl says, 'there are perhaps a few ambitions one should not satisfy in life, so as not to be disappointed.' He makes more than he has use for, and denies himself all of his desires.
Isn't that tragic? Strange man.