to do, not having done

“The other designers say, ‘We are burned out….’ Ooh,” Lagerfeld, 83, says in mock sympathy. “You will get burned out—if you take the job only for the check, you’d better do something else. People want the money but they don’t want to work. And they might be a little bit younger than I am, so they need their ‘private life.’ ” Smiling mischievously, he says, “I add collections and it makes them furious.” […]

His work ethic is well-known. “You wake up one day and find at 6 a.m. stacks [of faxes] handwritten by him, and he is announcing an idea for a book project or a Chanel catalog or a Fendi catalog,” says publisher Gerhard Steidl, who adds that most of his artists publish one book a year; with Lagerfeld, it’s typically 20 books and catalogs…“I do everything by instinct. Ninety percent goes into the garbage can, and the rest is maybe OK,” he says. “I am never pleased—I always think I could do better, that I am lazy.”  […]

The only invention Lagerfeld hasn’t really gotten up to speed with is the computer: “I don’t have time for the internet,” he says. Instead, he reads at a frenetic pace—and anything that happens to be in front of him. Once, working on a shoot, he found an industrial-supply catalog that had been left behind in the studio by a previous crew.

Though he’s outspoken, Lagerfeld also displays the old-fashioned manners of a courtier, never indulging in histrionics. “He’ll raise his glasses and just say, ‘You are frustrating me,’ ” says Pfrunder, imitating a comedic growl. Nor is he ever heard to complain, a favorite fashion pastime. “It’s very chic to never complain,” says Roitfeld. “It’s an education to work with Karl. When we are doing a photo shoot, he says hello to each person separately—the assistants, the interns. And when we finish he goes to say goodbye and thank you to each person personally. I’ve worked with many photographers and I can tell you, he’s the only one who does this.” […]

“What I like in life is to do, not having done,” says Lagerfeld.

Lagerfeld’s Chanel contract is for life…

~ Elisa Lipsky-Karasz, Karl Lagerfeld Is Never Satisfied (, Feb 13, 2017)


  1. “What I like in life is to do, not having done,” – this is so true! At times, we are so busy chasing our goals, we forget to appreciate the journey. Like the same way most of us look forward to Fridays!
    Happy Friday.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. to do – what it’s all about.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. He’s a legend!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. So refreshing to read about someone so successful and famous who’s also still polite and gracious. Sadly a rare combo these days it seems….

    Liked by 1 person

  5. “if you take the job only for the check, you’d better do something else.” Amen.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I’ve got friends in NYC more tapped into design than I am – one of them a supermodel I met on a beach while visiting my daughter in the Bay area of northern CA – but who doesn’t know the face of this man? He’s one intense cookie.

    Liked by 1 person

    • So true. Here’s more from same essay that aligns with his Brand:

      One of these tables is the nightly domain of Karl Lagerfeld, whose name—though the brand has never placed it on a single tweed jacket label, shoe or perfume in his 34 years as artistic director—has become synonymous with the iconic French brand.

      Long before the man himself enters the building at his usual hour of 7:30 p.m.—after a day often spent working at his Left Bank home—Lagerfeld’s white ponytail and black-sunglasses-wearing visage is everywhere: Plastic dolls, paper cutouts, caricatures and even a neon-lit, life-size poster preside over a warren of Lilliputian hallways and offices. It’s like visiting an icon-crammed Byzantine church as re-envisioned by Andy Warhol.

      Like Warhol, Lagerfeld knows the power of his image, even if the result is fame so engulfing that it has resulted in a kind of self-imposed captivity. Nearly all his outings these days are limited to a four-block radius from where he sits tonight; he has spent the past hour reviewing pieces for the next Chanel fashion show, taking place in four days at the recently refurbished Hotel Ritz Paris, also a couple of blocks away from rue Cambon on Place Vendôme. Coco Chanel confined herself to a similar circuit, having moved into a third-floor suite in the Ritz in 1935 and five years later into a two-room apartment there, staying for the next three decades until her death.

      It’s an odd paradox that a designer fascinated by the world beyond fashion can no longer participate so easily in it. “When you go to a restaurant with him, there are maybe 25 people coming up to take a picture or speak to him,” says Carine Roitfeld, who has styled Chanel ad campaigns since stepping down as editor in chief of French Vogue in 2010. “I remember 10 years ago, he would sometimes put on a cap before we went out so he wouldn’t be recognized,” says his longtime friend, editor Stephen Gan. “But now it’s a lot worse. It’s sort of like designer taken to rock-star level.”

      “It’s all my fault. I became too cartoonish and easy to recognize,” says Lagerfeld, 83, in the clipped cadence of his native German. Since famously losing 92 pounds 16 years ago, he has adopted a strict uniform that might best be described as dandyish gunslinger: black suede jeans from a supplier on rue du Mont Thabor, a black blazer designed for Lagerfeld by Hedi Slimane, boots made by the Chanel atelier Massaro, a starched Hilditch & Key shirt with a jaw-grazing collar and a tightly knotted, thin black tie adorned with original Belperron jewels that would make any heiress drool. “I don’t want to arrive somewhere sloppy in an old sweatshirt,” he says. “I know I look different from other people, but I don’t feel different, because I think I’m the most normal thing in the world.”

      Liked by 2 people

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