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Your lifestyle, your quirk
Oh, Karl Lagerfeld. Just like everyone’s outspoken, slightly offensive aunt, Karl Lagerfeld is there to tell people when they look fat, to make widespread assumptions about short people and Russian men, and to call just about anyone ugly or an idiot. Just like that annoying old relative, Lagerfeld also dotes on his cat, Choupette.
Of course, most cranky aunties don’t design stunning collections for Chanel and have their ridiculous quotes transmitted around the world. Lagerfeld is in trouble once again for his outspokenness, this time for criticizing the French president. To celebrate Lagerfeld’s bold statements, here is a collection of some of the best.
The latest uproar comes as a result of on interview Lagerfeld did for the Spanish edition of Marie Claire. Lagerfeld was speaking about President François Hollande’s policies, especially those on taxing the rich, and the word “imbécile” (idiot) was thrown in. Joana Bodet, the editor-in-chief, announced that the word was taken out of context. Lagerfeld noted that he does not speak Spanish and it was in a Spanish magazine, perhaps it was an improper translation. Lagerfeld appeared on national television in France to clear up the confusion and note that he never said “imbécile.”
It’s not the first time that Lagerfeld has weighed in on political and economic issues. He commented on the Greek economic crisis, but if any line is taken out of context, it sounds like he’s badmouthing the entire populations of two countries.
“… [Greeks] have this reputation of being so corrupt. You can't be sure the money will go where it's supposed to go… Nobody wants Greece to disappear, but they have really disgusting habits – Italy as well.”
Whether or not he called the French president names, he’s said some not-so-nice things in the past. Much like the old lady who loves to point out when anyone is looking even slightly bloated, Lagerfeld doesn’t hold back when pointing out a little extra junk in the trunk. When commenting on Adele, he said, “The thing at the moment is Adele. She’s a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice.”
Maybe it was an attempt at a compliment sandwich, where you soften criticism by putting a compliment before an after it. He’s always been adverse to those carrying a little extra weight: he once announced, “No one wants to see curvy women.” He holds himself to the same standards: his “only ambition in life… is to wear size 28 jeans.” He lost over 65 pounds and has kept it off for more than a decade, so weight is a big issue for him. He hails Victoria Beckham for having such a slim shape even after having four children.
Lagerfeld is a fan of Kate Middleton, the new Duchess of Cambridge. He finds her to be a romantic beauty and likes her silhouette. Unfortunately, he doesn’t like the entire Middleton family. In fact, he has spoken out about his dislike for Pippa Middleton’s face. When speaking about Kate, he said, “I don’t like the sister’s face. She should only show her back.” Um, is this a weird open-faced compliment sandwich? I guess he’s agreeing with the rest of the world that she has a nice bum, even while he’s totally insulting her face.
He’s just as mean to men as women. He once said, “If I was a woman in Russia, I would be a lesbian, as the men are very ugly.” Nope, there’s no spinning that one another way. He notes that Naomi Campbell’s boyfriend is an exception to the ugly rule, but for the most part, the women got all of the attractive genes in the country. Ouch. Aside from Russian men, Lagerfeld also isn’t kind to men of his age. He says that he doesn’t get along with them because they are “bourgeois or retired or boring.” Then there are the short, ugly men. While he’s careful to note that he doesn’t hate all ugly people, he does hate “nasty ugly people.”
“The worst is ugly, short men” because “it’s something you can’t forgive in life.” OK, so he believes that short, ugly men are angry at the world because they are short and ugly, but he also believes that “they are mean and want to kill you” as a result. Riiiiiight.
In a dislike I couldn’t have predicted, Lagerfeld hates swans. “Swans, they are the meanest animal in the world, you know,” the designer said. Turns out he was caught by one as a child. “They hate children,” he explained.
Ever the environmentalist, Lagerfeld throws everything away. “The most important piece of furniture in a house is the garbage can!” he said. “I keep no archives of my own, no sketches, no photos, no clothes – nothing.” I’m sure someone would love his old clothes; throwing them out sounds pretty wasteful, Karl.
Lagerfeld designs for Chanel, a veritable fashion institution. While many have respect for such established fashion houses, Lagerfeld believes that respect and creativity don’t go together. “Chanel is an institution, and you have to treat an institution like a whore – and then you get something out of her,” he said.
He has very distinct taste in fashion. He’s “not mad for thongs.” He thinks that tattoos are terrible unless you’re “young and tight,” but “it’s like living in a Pucci dress full-time.” He also declares that he is “physically allergic to flip-flops” because they are so sloppy and he loves impeccable footwear.
One thing Lagerfeld used to love is hats, until his mother put the kibosh on that. “I love hats, in a way, but when I was a child, I’d wear Tyrolean hats, and my mother – I was something like eight – said to me ‘You shouldn’t wear hats. You look like an old dyke.’” I guess we know where he got his outspokenness. Despite dropping the D-word, his mother actually had a very healthy attitude toward homosexuality. When he asked her about it “100 years ago in Germany” (I knew he was older than 79! He’s immortal), she said “It’s like hair color. It’s nothing. Some people are blonde and some people have dark hair. It’s not a subject.” Wow, that’s pretty progressive.
Surprisingly, Lagerfeld knows that everything he says can be published and misinterpreted. For some reason, he just keeps talking. “It’s very difficult today, as you open your mouth and everything is printed somewhere,” he said. “You cannot even make private jokes anymore.” Private jokes are one thing, but he’s saying most of these things in interviews. Why does he answer questions on anything other than his line if he doesn’t want to be misinterpreted?
Since he’s not going to stop saying this kind of stuff and he’s immortal, I think that we can expect even more outlandish quotes from him. In case you want even more ridiculousness, I recommend that you follow Fake Karl Lagerfeld on Twitter (@HungryLagerfeld). The tweets are hilarious and not all that far off from what the real Lagerfeld might say.