“Less and less.”


Fashion (Canada) - - Interview -

SO YOU’RE SEN­TI­MEN­TAL ABOUT THAT THEN? “I’m not re­ally sen­ti­men­tal about things I bought my­self. That’s why I like do­ing ho­tels and projects like this, be­cause I love to do things. When it’s done, I want to do some­thing else.” ARE YOU STILL IN YOUR MOD­ERN DE­SIGN PHASE? “Yes, yes. [The lob­bies] will not be baroque [chuck­ling]. I am not al­lowed to talk about it yet, but I have a pre­cise idea, with no sec­ond op­tion. If you have a sec­ond op­tion, then you’re not sure of your­self.” YOU TEND TO DRESS IN A UNI­FORM. WHEN DID THAT START? “I don’t know. I am not a re­sult of some mer­chan­dis­ing process. I like the idea be­cause I look dif­fer­ent from every­body else. I am eas­ily iden­ti­fied. As a child, I wanted to be dif­fer­ent. I wore Bavar­ian clothes in the north of Europe be­cause no­body had them.” I READ SOME­WHERE THAT YOU BE­LIEVE IN REIN­CAR­NA­TION. IS THAT TRUE? “No, and I am tired of peo­ple who say they think they were a cour­te­san in Egypt 4,000 years ago or stupid things like that. I like the idea, but if we don’t re­mem­ber, who cares? Rein­car­na­tion would only be in­ter­est­ing if you could re­mem­ber.” DO YOU CARE WHAT OTHER PEO­PLE THINK ABOUT WHAT YOU DO? “Less and less.” THAT’S A GOOD THING, ISN’T IT? “It’s the best! It took some time, but I got there.” WHEN DID THAT START? “Slowly. Too late for my taste, but that’s OK. I think what saves me is I am not tak­ing my­self se­ri­ously. I con­sider my­self a joke. I al­ways think that I can do bet­ter, that I should make an ef­fort and I am lazy. But it’s grotesque! I never com­pare my­self to any­body else. I built my life the way I wanted it to be built. It’s a very self­ish life, but for the job I am do­ing you have to be free 24 hours a day. You can­not do it the way I do it if you have fam­ily prob­lems or things like that. When de­sign­ers ac­cept a con­tract they should know it’s a job and not com­plain like poor vic­tims af­ter. If you start to think, ‘You have to re­spect me be­cause I did a big thing in the past,’ for­get about it. I have no ar­chives, noth­ing.” YOU DON’T? “No! Chanel and Fendi have ar­chives. But I don’t want it. There is a huge ex­hi­bi­tion, very beau­ti­ful, ap­par­ently, in Ger­many, in a big state mu­seum with ev­ery­thing I did in life. I will never go there. I refuse any in­ter­views. I didn’t go to the open­ing. I have noth­ing to do with it. I don’t want to be con­fronted by my own past.” WHAT ABOUT A MET GALA-TYPE RET­RO­SPEC­TIVE? “But that’s the same thing as the Ger­man mu­seum. I did it with Anna Win­tour for Chanel, but it was more Chanel. I do not have to put my name on it like ‘Karl Lager­feld for Chanel’ or ‘Karl Lager­feld for Fendi’ like other de­sign­ers do. That’s ridicu­lous. I made my name with­out putting my name over the door. I started with Chloé and then I did Lager­feld only be­cause the peo­ple who were tired of Chloé wanted to leave with me, and we made an­other kind of com­pany, but it was very dif­fer­ent. Now I think Lager­feld is po­si­tioned right be­cause it’s in­ex­pen­sive and much more ac­ces­si­ble. That’s why I did H&M. I loved the idea. I can do the most ex­pen­sive and the less ex­pen­sive, too, be­cause I don’t use the word ‘cheap.’

“I am lucky, my con­tract gives me to­tal free­dom. I can do what­ever I want. There is no ex­clu­siv­ity. If you want to kill a designer you give them a con­tract with ex­clu­siv­ity. Then he will dry out in his ivory tower.” WHAT DO YOU THINK OF SOME OF TH­ESE YOUNG GUYS WHO ARE IN TH­ESE SIT­U­A­TIONS, LIKE VUIT­TON OR BA­LEN­CI­AGA? “No­body did as many years as I did—I did Fendi for 50 years. I made a kind of blue­print for this. You know, when I took over Chanel, ev­ery­one said, ‘Don’t touch it.’” RE­ALLY? “But then it was the dowdi­est thing in the world for the bour­geois from the 16th ar­rondisse­ment in Paris. Hor­ri­ble. No­body said, ‘Oh, great idea.’ [Coco] was dead for 11 years. Peo­ple were say­ing, ‘We have to re­spect.’ You know, if you want to kill a la­bel you be­come re­spect­ful.” YOU GREW UP IN COM­FORT­ABLE CIR­CUM­STANCES. “Be­yond com­fort­able. But I didn’t want toys. I only wanted books. I never played with chil­dren. I was only read­ing, sketch­ing and learn­ing lan­guages. I could speak French and English when I was six. My fa­ther spoke nine lan­guages and I wanted to be a grown-up per­son. I hated chil­dren.” YOU HATED CHIL­DREN? “I spent my child­hood in the coun­try. They were not that bril­liant. I wanted noth­ing else. And I still want noth­ing else. That’s why I ended up with 300,000 books. It’s a night­mare.” WHY IS IT A NIGHT­MARE? “It’s work and space to man­age all that.” HAVE YOU TRIED AN E-READER? “I still pre­fer pa­per be­cause I am a pa­per freak. I sketch ev­ery­thing my­self. I do ev­ery­thing my­self. If not, I’m not in­ter­ested. I am only in­ter­ested in what I am do­ing.”

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