Barreling Ahead at 84 Years

November 29, 2017

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There’s an old joke that’s been around for years. It goes like this: If a nuclear bomb is dropped at some point in the future there will only be two things left on earth: cockroaches and Keith Richards. I would like to amend that to read “cockroaches, Keith Richards and Karl Lagerfeld.”

Karl Lagerfeld interviewed by Jessica Chastain at Alice Tully Hall in Manhattan

Frankly, I’m in awe of Lagerfeld. His incredible creativity, energy and workaholic approach to life is astounding. It seems as if he never stops. He was quite coy about his age for years – but now it seems he has thrown caution to the wind. Why not? What he’s doing right now is pretty remarkable. First of all:

LAGERFELD IS CREATIVE DIRECTOR OF CHANEL AND FENDI AS WELL AS HIS OWN FASHION LABEL…

plus he’s an artist and photographer. Each one of these pursuits is a career in itself. In a fascinating article that appeared in the 150th Anniversary Issue of Bazaar in November 2017 a number of insights about Lagerfeld are revealed.

For example, in this “As told to Christopher Tennant” piece Lagerfeld says,

“I have survived in the world pretty well, but that is mostly because I’m lucky. [Comment: I’m a big believer in luck – there are whole books written about this topic. I think it’s more important than most of us would like to believe.]

He notes that, “I have lifelong contracts at two billion-dollar companies, Fendi and Chanel, which gives me a level of freedom that – let’s be honest – nobody else in fashion really has.” He has been with Fendi for 52 years and Chanel for 35. Wow! Those are powerful numbers!

Shown: Fendi’s spectacular couture show celebrating the company’s 90th anniversary in Rome. A massive transparent runway was laid over the Trevi Fountain’s pool. Photo: Courtesy of Elle  

 

Shown: Lagerfeld with the five Fendi sisters a number of years ago. Photo: Courtesy of Elle magazine.

Check Out These Revealing Comments from Lagerfeld

  • “I’m often asked how I do what I do – how I juggle so many things at the same time. It’s totally normal to me. In fact, I think maybe it’s other people who have the problem. Designers today, they get big very quickly and then their heads get big too”.
  • “I’ve always known that I am me and that Fendi is Fendi, that Chanel is Chanel. I’m very much against this trend of designers putting their names next to their labels.”

A Chanel ad in the Financial Times, “How to Spend It” 11/6/17

  • “I’m very nice to the people I work with, which – especially in fashion – is not always the case. But I can’t do what I do alone, and I need something from everybody.”
  • “The only thing I know how to do is sketch and come up with a few ideas, but, for the rest of it, I need help. Thankfully, I’m lucky to have the best – nobody really leaves, and the two or three people that have tried have all come back. My teams are very precious, like family.”
  • “At Chanel I have a girl who has worked with me for nearly 30 years who is the go-between with all the ateliers and the people who make embroidery. She is a huge help and I have someone like that in every department: for handbags, shoes, jewelry – all of it. I work mostly with girls. I prefer to have girls around me. I don’t know why that is, but it is.” [Comment: I know Lagerfeld says, “girls” a word that sends many people up the wall. But he speaks German, French, English and Italian, so let’s give him some slack. And by the way, his father spoke nine languages.]
  • “I do all my sketching at home because in the studio there’s too much going on – too much conversation, too many phone calls, too many people. I can’t concentrate. At home, it’s just me and my sketch pad with Choupette sitting next to me.” [Comment: You don’t know who Choupette is? Do you live on the moon? It’s time for you to Google.]
  • “I don’t do meetings and wouldn’t do them for anything in the world. I never have and I never will. I wish I had some advice to give to the younger generation, but I don’t, other than to work hard and to find the right clients. Also, be careful not to overestimate yourself. Is there a secret to my success? I’m an expert at forgetting my problems. There’s that wonderful Billie Holiday line, ‘It’s easy to remember but so hard to forget.’ For me it’s the reverse: hard to remember and easy to forget.”

MAY WE SUGGEST…

Have you started your Christmas shopping yet? If you haven’t then it’s time to check out all our apparel selections. If you’re still stuck then consider an ADEA gift card: easy to order, great to give and even nicer to receive.

Shaun Nelson-Henrick 



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