Ten Immortal Quotes From Karl Lagerfeld

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Karl Lagerfeld in AnOther Magazine Autumn/Winter 2003Photography by Karl Lagerfeld

As the Karl Lagerfeld’s life is celebrated with a memorial in Paris, we remember ten of his most powerful quotes

Karl Lagerfeld could deliver an aphorism like few others – perhaps only surpassed by his forebear, Coco Chanel, whose various observations are so well-repeated they are everyday parlance. Of Lagerfeld himself, he will perhaps be most remembered for his pithy, off-the-cuff barbs – delivered steeped in trademark irony – but his quieter remarks on fashion, on the state of the world, on life, and death, linger on. They provide an insight on to the way the iconoclastic designer – best known for his work as creative director of Chanel – dealt with the realities of living. “I don’t want to play the intellectual, I hate that,” he told Susannah Frankel, when she documented a year in his life for AnOther Magazine Spring/Summer 2016. “I like to be informed, I like to know everything, but I don’t want to make pretentious conversation or have discussions about subjects that I’m interested in. I like to know about all kinds of subjects, low and high, but I do it for myself.”

Yesterday, in Paris’ Grand Palais – where Lagerfeld held his always monumental runway shows, transporting attendees from the mountains to the beach, airport and supermarket – 2,500 people gathered to celebrate his extraordinary life in a ceremony entitled Karl For Ever, four months since his passing. Here, in tribute, we share some of Karl Lagerfeld’s immortal words of wisdom. 

  1. “The last thing I want to be is a serious person. I can be serious but I don’t want to show it. It’s like being politically correct. Maybe I’m politically correct but don’t make a subject out of it. It kills advanced conversation” – to Susannah Frankel, AnOther Magzine Spring/Summer 2016
  2. “I throw everything away! The most important piece of furniture in a house is the garbage can! I keep no archives of my own, no sketches, no photos, no clothes – nothing! I am supposed to do, I’m not supposed to remember!” – to John Colaptino, New Yorker, March 2017
  3. “If I did not take care of myself, if I didn’t like myself how could other people? When I saw Hedi Slimane’s clothes I made my body back to what it used to be because I wanted to wear those clothes. Now men have to think like this and I think it’s a good thing” – to Jo-Ann Furniss, AnOther Magazine Autumn/Winter 2003 
  4. “I don’t like the Internet, but around me we have to do that. My assistants, my private secretaries, they all do it, so if I need something I have it in a second. I personally don’t do Instagram because one has to maintain a vague mystère – to Susannah Frankel, AnOther Magazine Spring/Summer 2016
  5. “I fight against possessions. They victimise you... if not, little worthless things I would not mention” – Vanity Fair Proust Questionnaire 
  6. “If you don’t daydream your life is a nightmare” – to Andrew O’Hagain, New York Times, October 2015
  7. “I’m not a very sociable person. I’m very at ease and good at small talk, but I don’t have much time. And social life bores me. People don’t bore me, social life bores me. But I’m perfectly happy” – to Susannah Frankel, AnOther Magazine Spring/Summer 2016
  8. “You can only really build something new if you destroy the old” – to Kin Woo, Dazed, February 2011
  9. “I don’t do this to make something look like me. I don’t make an inspiration board, I’m not a marketing person. Nobody tells me we should do this, this and this. Most of the things I see when I’m sleeping” – to Susannah Frankel, after the 2018 Métiers d’Art show
  10. “I personally have nothing to say, nothing to explain. I make such big efforts to forget things. Non, non, non, I couldn’t tell the truth” – to Susannah Frankel, AnOther Magazine Spring/Summer 2016