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The Strangest Man in Fashion

December 31, 2015

At the last Fashion Week in Paris, in addition to the clothes and models, the talk of the town was, as always, Chanel art director and fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld.

Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel

  • Karl Lagerfeld was born in Germany in 1933. His real last name is Lagerfeldt (he changed it to be “more commercial”). He also denies he was born in 1933, calling it a rumor made up by a cousin.
  • He may be kooky, but his staff is loyal. His director of Atlier, Anita Briey, has worked with Lagerfeld for more than 50 years. She was his intern in the early 1960s.
  • Lagerfeld sketches all of his couture ideas not with pens or pencils, but makeup. He favors eye shadows made by Shu Uemura, especially a red shade custom made just for him.
  • Lagerfeld shoots his ad campaigns in a makeshift photo studio in the back of a bookstore in Paris. (He also owns the bookstore. He also reportedly owns more than 300,000 books.)
  • For some reason, he owns more than 100 iPods, all with different music depending on his mood. He carries them all around with him wherever he goes in a $1,500 Fendi suitcase.
  • Lagerfeld designed the world’s most expensive safe. The Narcissus weighs 2,000 pounds and costs more than $350,000.
  • Karl has his own line of emoji. Available on the EmotiKarl app, it offers tiny cartoon versions of Lagerfeld, his cat, and his signature black gloves.
  • In 2001, animal rights protestors ambushed him and threw a pie in his face. Reason: He used real fur in his clothes. But not anymore. Ever since, he’s opted for faux-fur.
  • Lagerfeld is very prolific. While still working with Fendi, he has also been the art director at Chanel, as well as his own line, Karl Lagerfeld, as well as creating clothes for stores such as H&M and designing a special line of bottles for Coca-Cola.
  • His 2014 Paris show for Chanel was supermarket themed, down to dozens of grocery items with “Chanel” labels. As the show ended, there was a stampede as those in attendance tried to grab cans of things like “Chanel Peas.”
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