Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel)
Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel)
Karl L
e contemporary look of Karl Lagerfeld is situated in a classic and cosmopolitan setting.
Likely it was this contact with the cultural diversity of Europe that resulted in an identity
free of boundaries, one markedly modern and multidisciplinary that leaves its stamp on
each one of his creations.
His career began with a sketch of a coat he sent, at the age of seventeen, to a contest held by
the Secrétariat International de la Laine, which he won. Balmain then assumed the respon-
sibility of bringing the sketch to fruition and hired Karl to work in their workshop. After
that, when he was just twenty years old, he became the artistic director of Patou.
e 60s represented a burst of acceleration in the rhythm of fashion. Pret-a-porter began
to establish itself, and Karl commenced a journey as an independent designer throughout
Europe, going to work for the Fendi sisters, Chloé, and ultimately launching his own label
(Karl Lagerfeld). In 1983, he began a long and passionate relationship with Chanel.
But the designers restless spirit compelled him to enter other fi elds. In 1987, he began
photographing his own collections, a decision which resulted in genuine works of art. At
the same time, he also began collaborating with some of the most prestigious magazines
in the world. In 1999, he created a new label—Lagerfeld Gallery—while simultaneously
delving deeper into yet another of his great passions, books, starting his own publishing
house, Edition 7L. In 2004, this same spirit inspired him to come up with a collection of
thirty designs for fashion giant H&M (“Karl Lagerfeld for H&M”). It proved to be a huge
success and set a precedent for this kind of collaboration.
© Chanel/photography by Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel)
Above, design from the 2006 “Paris–
New York” collection. To the right, the
sketch Coco Fitted the 50ties Perfectly,
by Karl Lagerfeld for the French
fashion house Chanel.
© Chanel/photography by Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel)
© Chanel/sketch by Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel)
- What inspires you?
Inspiration is the opposite of marketing. It mainly comes to me in the morning. When I was a child, I was told, “If you
dont get up in the morning, nothing will become of you.” Now people laugh at that, but I really get up at seven o’clock,
even though I only ever go to bed at two in the morning.  ere are no rules for inspiration. You have to have your eyes
open and like what you see. You have to have a quality view on things, even as you cross the street.
- What is your dream as a designer?
To work in the world of fashion, photography, books; for me, it’s sort of like having my childhood dream to be a
portrait artist come true, just a little later than expected. Just like design, photography is unique and unrepeatable. In
fashion, I dont have an objective audience. I make suggestions, but I dont give out timeless, valid fashion advice. I’m
not a moralist. I’m not setting out to improve society through fashion.
- What has been the most important achievement of your career?
My greatest achievement is my next collection. I dont think in terms of success. What pleases me is my job and the way
I do it. Whats interesting to me is the way of doing the things, not the end. We must reinvent our own destiny.
- How important are trends?
Trends fade away, and I never made a special eff ort to be trendy. You know, in order to survive, you need to be your own
trend. We know how fashion is today, but after tomorrow we dont know.
- Fashion has always refl ected a certain era. What does fashion refl ect in the twenty-fi rst century?
Today there is a kind of openness. It’s very visible, and maybe it’s overexposed—me included—but that’s funny, too,
isnt it? Its funny, because I survived so many people. Its a very strange feeling. But I have no sense of time at all. I’m
oating in the air of no time.
- What book would you recommend to every fashion designer?
Grace: Thirty Years of Fashion at Vogue.
Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel)
31, rue Cambon
75008 Paris
Karl Lagerfeld (Chanel)
© Chanel/sketches by Karl Lagerfeld

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