I got home yesterday to texts from all over the planet as people found out about, and mourned, the death of Chanel boss and fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld, aged 85.
Lagerfeld steered Chanel away from certain failure over the last three decades, and was praised as a visionary genius who took the fashion house to new heights.
His death is believed to be the result of pancreatic cancer, which he had been secretly battling for the last while.
Here’s The Mirror:
German-born Karl was as large in life as he was in his Chanel designs, opting for a signature uniform of fingerless gloves, a black suit and ponytail whenever he appeared in public.
“For my professional credibility, it was good to be able to prove that I am capable of creating transformations, not only with my designs but also in my own appearance,” he wrote in the Guardian in 2004.
“The boots, the shirts, the black trousers – the whole panoply – represented a sort of camouflage. It worked perfectly and I lived very well in those outfits – or rather behind them. The dark glasses, the fan – they were like a wall between the world and myself.”
He was also known for his controversial statements, which never went unnoticed by the media. Fast Company below with a selection of some of the best:
“When I was four I asked my mother for a valet for my birthday.” (Vogue)
“Life is not a beauty contest, some [ugly people] are great. What I hate is nasty, ugly people. The worst is ugly short men. Women can be short, but for men it is impossible. It is something that they will not forgive in life—they are mean and they want to kill you.” (The Evening Standard)
“I’m rather pro-prostitution. I admire people who do it. It can’t be much fun. Thank goodness for it. People need relief or they become murderers.” (Refinery29)
“Normally, I don’t recommend me for wedding dresses – they all get a divorce.” (Vogue)
Lagerfeld on Royals and celebrities:
“Kate Middleton has a nice silhouette and she is the right girl for that boy. I like that kind of woman, I like romantic beauties. On the other hand, her sister struggles. I don’t like the sister’s face. She should only show her back.”(Daily Mail)
“The thing at the moment is Adele. She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice.” (The Guardian)
Sheesh, quite harsh on Pippa and Adele.
“I’m a kind of fashion nymphomaniac who never gets an orgasm.” (Reuters)
“I’m not crazy to discuss fashion with men. I couldn’t care less about their opinion,” (New York Times).
“I am a sort of vampire, taking the blood of other people.” (Vogue)
On Yves Saint Laurent: “He is very middle-of-the-road French – very pied-noir, very provincial.” (The Guardian)
On selfies: “They are this horrible thing where you are distorted. The chin is too big, the head is too small. No, this is electronic masturbation.” (Vogue)
And my personal favourite:
“Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” (The World According to Karl)
Lagerfeld leaves behind his cat Choupette, an adorable ball of fluff who is something of a cult figure in the fashion world. She even has her own social media accounts, including Instagram, where she boasts more than 175 000 followers.
According to The Citizen, Choupette is also about to become the richest cat on the planet.
The pampered eight-year-old puss has enjoyed a jetset lifestyle eating off silver platters since Lagerfeld “kidnapped” her in 2011 from his young friend male model Baptiste Giabiconi.
Long before his death today, Lagerfeld said he had made sure that she would go on living in the style that she had become accustomed to, with her own personal bodyguard and two maids.
“Choupette is a rich girl,” he once told French television, hinting that had written her into his will.
“She has her own fortune,” he added, thought to be around three million euros ($3.4 million) which she earned with him doing adverts for a German car firm and a Japanese cosmetics brand.
She also has her own book, Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Fashion Cat, which contains recipes for her favourite foods prepared by some of the best restaurants in Paris. Lagerfeld forbade her from doing cat food adverts:
“She is too sophisticated for that,” said the legendary wit, who lived alone and admitted that “Choupette is the centre of my world”.
“She has something unforgettable in the way she moves — I’m inspired by her elegance and her attitude,” he said.
To round off, here are 15 things you might not know about the man.
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