Karl Lagerfeld: The German Icon Who Knew Marketing at its Best

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karl lagerfeld quotes

A new style of marketing

Karl Lagerfeld was one of the most famous fashion designers in the world. Being the creative head of Chanel and Fendi for several decades, the German himself was an established brand. King Karl, liked his admirers use to call him, was probably the funniest person in the fashion Olymp and exactly as famous for his beautiful collections as for his controversial statements about people, society and especially himself. His favourite colours? Black, white (and sometimes grey). His muse? Changed from season to season (his last male muse was probably Baptiste Giabiconi, his last female most likely Freja Beha Erichsen). His favorite animal? Cat choupette. His birth date? Eventually between 1933 and 1938. His aim in life? Staying skinny (and keep on working). His religion? Fashion. Who was Karl Lagerfeld? Nobody knew – maybe not even himself.  And so is his biography: never written. “I dont even think that Im famous”. Thats probably true. Karl Lagerfeld as a person was not famous, but he as a figure, as an icon, as the incarnation of confidence and self-irony, was the biggest marketing for the brand Chanel. Even bigger than any campaign or extraordinary beautiful topmodel. Chanel didn’t even need them. Chanel only needed Karl. Karl Lagerfeld meant entertainment by listening, not seeing – which is obviously rare or not even existing in this business. Whenever Karl Lagerfeld was giving a statement, it got a place in any “Top Quotes-List”. He once said in a German tv show, that he thinks, he is boring. He was the only guest. People were eager listening and laughing. In the end, moderator Markus Lanz told Karl something like: “You entertained the audience for one hour. Just on your own”. Which are some famous Karl Lagerfeld quotes?

His best quotes and whats behind them

In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish.

From 1965 until his death in 2019, Karl Lagerfeld was the chef designer of Fendi, a brand which is famous for fur and leather goods. 

I never drink anything hot; I don’t like hot drinks, very strange.

Karl Lagerfelds favorite drink was Coca Cola Light. In 2014, he also designed a bottle in a grey-white gradient with his silhouette and a pink cap. It was only available in French supermarkets. 

Everything I say is a joke. I am a joke myself.

Some people might confound Karl Lagerfelds attitude with arrogance. In fact, he was everything but that. For Karl Lagerfeld, almost nothing was beneath himself. He was already advertising figurehead for VW (Volkswagen), safety vests in France or Karl Lagerfeld’s cat Choupette a “model” for Opel Corsa. 

The brain is a muscle, and I’m a kind of body-builder.

Karl Lagerfeld read a lot and is in possession of around 300.000 books, which were located in seven different flats. 

I never fall in love

Karl Lagerfeld was differentiating sex and love. “I don’t like to sleep with people I love” was also one of his statements in the past. According to Karl Lagerfeld, a person can love only once in his life. For him, it was most probably Jacques de Bascher, a dandy and bon vivant. “He was everything, which I was not”, remembered the designer afterwards. They both met in the 70s when the young Karl Lagerfeld was still about to become one of the top designers in the fashion olymp. Jaques died in 1989 of aids.  

In France there are, I think, less than one per cent of people who are too skinny.

Chanel is famous for hiring very skinny models. With Karl Lagerfeld quotes like the one above, the German fashion designer was heating up this topic. According to him, being fat is more dangerous than being anorexic. 

I can no longer walk in the street. That’s over.

Karl Lagerfeld was such a big star in Europe and especially in France that people were eager to get a photo or even touch the designer. But that was exactly what he didn’t like. Thanks to that, Karl Lagerfeld’s former bodyguard Sebastian Jondeau was almost as famous as him. According to Karl, he was even more than that and already described him as an assistant and housekeeper. 

Why should I stop working? If I do, I’ll die and it’ll all be finished.

Karl Lagerfeld was sleeping 7 hours every day – never more and never less. Once he waked up, he started reading a book. Besides that, the multi-talent was designing collections for three brands: Chanel, Fendi, Karl Lagerfeld and before 1997 also for Chloe. 

You cannot be creative with people around you.

Karl Lagerfeld hated to wake up next to another person. Living happily alone was one of his biggest achievements in life. 

T-shirts for ten dollars are even more fashion today than expensive fashion.

H&M in 2004, Macy’s in 2011 or his own brand “Karl Lagerfeld” – Karl Lagerfeld not only knew how to design for expensive brands like Chanel, but also for light purses. 

I have now exactly the same weight I had when I was 18, 20.

224 pounds showed his scale when Karl Lagerfeld decided to lose weight. “I wanted to fit in the suits from Hedi Slimae”, argued the designer. In 13 months, he lost 92 pounds.  The secrets behind the famous Karl Lagerfeld diet (3D diet): special protein shakes, fish, lean meat, vegetables and wholemeal bread. When Karl Lagerfeld was young, he was a passionate bodybuilder. 

My childhood was endless – from eight to 18 felt like hundreds of years.

According to Karl Lagerfeld, he hated to be a child and especially the way people talked to him during this time. At age 6, he was already fluent in German, French and English. The reason: he had several language teachers. Karl Lagerfeld’s parents were well-situated people in Hamburg. His father was a condensed milk fabricant. Some sources also say, that he presented the young Karl with a Mercedes, a Jaguar and later on a Bentley motor car. 

The way I talk is bizarre.

This self irony is basically the reason why people loved him. 

Buy clothes the size you want to wear.

As mentioned above it was one of Karl Lagerfeld’s goal to fit in the slim fitting suits from former Dior designer Hedi Slimane. 

I love dogs, but dogs, you have to be in the country with dogs. I cannot walk a dog on the street.

Karl Lagerfeld’s cat was called Choupette. She was a white Birman breed and a gift from Lagerfed’s muse, model and DJ Baptiste Giabiconi. Choupette had her own twitter, instagram and wikipedia. She was also “model” for automobile manufacterer Opel and appeared (next to Gisele Bündchen and Linda Evangelista) on the cover of the fashion magazine Vogue. 

“I had an interview once with some German journalist—some horrible, ugly woman. It was in the early days after the communists—maybe a week after—and she wore a yellow sweater that was kind of see-through. She had huge tits and a huge black bra, and she said to me, ‘It’s impolite; remove your glasses.’ I said, ‘Do I ask you to remove your bra?”

Karl Lagerfeld’s glasses were one of his trademarks. He never left his house without them since 1967. There were two main reasons for that: 1. He once attended a nightclub with a female friend. Her ex-boyfriend saw the two and became angry. He wanted to throw a glass on her head but caught one of Karl Lagerfeld’s eyes. He was wearing glasses, which protected his eye. 2. Karl Lagerfeld is nearsighted. According to him, he looked like a “faithful dog” without sunglasses.

Featured image:  Karl Lagerfeld Siebbi Wikimedia – CC BY 3.0
February 9, 2017
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