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 (wsj.com, Feb 13, 2017)

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