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King Karl

Karl Lagerfeld, one of fashion's greatest multitaskers.

By Jessica Michault

Karl Lagerfeld has spent more than half a century dressing the world. Between his work as the head designer and creative director for Chanel and Fendi, as well as his own signature brand and a myriad of collaborations, Lagerfeld is arguably the most famous designer working today.

His inexhaustible work ethic, which has him shooting advertising campaigns, directing short films and writing books while still being able to produce all his brands collections, is renowned. As is his ability, in a number of languages, to speak knowledgably on a vast range of subjects including, but not limited to, art, books, design, architecture, history and music.

Recently, Lagerfeld spoke to a small group of guests at the Hyeres fashion and photography festival in France, from which we’ve excerpted some choice moments here.

What would be your advice to someone setting off on a career as a fashion designer? 
I don’t think there are any rules. Every case is different. It really depends on what they want. What they can do. What they can’t do. There are no rules and I only believe in careers built on no rules.

Can you share a bit about your design process with us?
You know I don’t think that much. I work with my instincts. The way I work is very special; I have a flash and then I am really lucky that I am able to put it on paper and then people can see it and immediately understand it and then make it. You look on my board in my studio and you see my sketches and you look at my dresses and they are exactly alike, because I am not changing my mind. Because before I present an idea I have thrown 20 others into the garbage.

What do you think of the new crop of young designers coming up now?
I hate that term young designer. You’re a good designer or a bad designer. When I was young, being a young designer was something you could not be proud of because you had no experience, no training. Now it is all about being young. It’s very dangerous.

Did you ever think when you started out that you would one day become this iconic figure? 
As a child I was sure I would become famous. I was such a pretentious child that I thought there could be no other way for me then to become famous. After that I became more modest.


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