Vale Karl Lagerfeld: Fashion Icon’s Best Quotes And Most Outrageous Zingers

Karl Lagerfeld
Photo: Instagram

Legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld has died in Paris at the age of 85 after a period of ill health.

The German-born designer, who was the creative director of Chanel, Fendi and his own eponymous label, was one of fashion’s most influential figures.

He died on Tuesday morning after being admitted to hospital the previous night, according to French media reports.

His label confirmed Lagerfeld’s death on Instagram, writing that Karl “was one of the most influential and celebrated designers of the 21st century and an iconic, universal symbol of style.”

“Driven by a phenomenal sense of creativity, Karl was passionate, powerful and intensely curious,” the House of Lagerfeld wrote.

“He leaves behind an extraordinary legacy as one of the greatest designers of our time, and there are no words to express how much he will be missed.”

Chanel CEO Alain Wertheimer said in a statement, “Thanks to his creative genius, generosity and exceptional intuition, Karl Lagerfeld was ahead of his time, which widely contributed to the House of Chanel’s success throughout the world.”

In her tribute, Donatella Versace said Karl’s “genius touched the lives of so many” and he was an “endless” source of inspiration for her and her late brother Gianni.

But away from his work, Lagerfeld was just as renowned for his witty, cutting and often controversial quips. Here are just a few of his best:

On his appearance: “I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that. It is like a mask. And for me the Carnival of Venice lasts all year long.”

On how he feels after a fashion show: “I’m a kind of fashion nymphomaniac who never gets an orgasm.”

On his humility: “I am very much down to Earth. Just not this earth.”

On his sunglasses: “They’re my burka… I’m a little shortsighted, and people, when they’re shortsighted, they remove their glasses and then they look like cute little dogs who want to be adopted.”

On style: “If you come and ask me, ‘I want to be chic,’ There is little hope to become chic. Because there are peasants in the country who are beyond chic in their poor rags, and very rich women who are not chic in the most expensive dress.”

On children: “They grow so fast, and having adult children makes you look 100 years old. I don’t want that.”

On homosexuality: “When I was a child I asked my mother what homosexuality was about and she said – and this was 100 years ago in Germany and she was very open-minded – ‘It’s like hair colour. It’s nothing. Some people are blond and some people have dark hair. It’s not a subject.’ This was a very healthy attitude.”

On same-sex marriage: “I’m against it for a very simple reason: In the ’60s they all said we had the right to the difference. And now, suddenly, they want a bourgeois life.”

On solitude: “I live in a set, with the curtains of the stage closed with no audience – but who cares?”

On love: “The only love I really believe in is a mother’s love for her children.”

On pyjamas: “Everybody should go to bed dressed like they have a date at the door.”

On activewear: “Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”

On revenge: “I know revenge is mean and horrible, but I see no reason why I shouldn’t do something back if somebody has done something bad to me. When people think it’s all forgotten, I pull the chair away — maybe 10 years later.”

On mobile phones: “I send notes. I’m not a chambermaid whom you can ring at every moment. Today, you know, most people act like they work at a switchboard in a hotel.”

On conversation: “I hate intellectual conversation with intellectuals because I only care about my opinion.”

On second languages: “Anyone who is not at least trilingual is a hick.”

On sex: “I personally only like high-class escorts. I don’t like sleeping with people I really love. I don’t want to sleep with them because sex cannot last, but affection can last forever. I think this is healthy.”

On crime: “Thank goodness for [prostitution]. People need relief or they become murderers. Frustration is the mother of crime, and so there would be much more crime without prostitutes and without porn movies.”

On creativity: “I have a sort of Alzheimer’s for my own work, which I think is a very good thing. Today too many people remember what they did — just forget it all and start again.”

On short men: “Life is not a beauty contest, some [ugly people] are great. What I hate is nasty, ugly people … the worst is ugly, short men. Women can be short, but for men it is impossible. It is something that they will not forgive in life … they are mean and they want to kill you.”

On Russian men: “If I was a woman in Russia I would be a lesbian, as the men are very ugly.” There are a few handsome ones, like Naomi Campbell’s boyfriend, but there you see the most beautiful women and the most horrible men.”

On Adele: “The thing at the moment is Adele. She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice,” Karl said, and added after a worldwide backlash, “I’d like to say to Adele that I am your biggest admirer.”

On inexpensive clothes: “Never use the word ‘cheap’. Today everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes (the rich buy them too). There is good clothing design on every level today. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans—it’s up to you.”

On his workload: “Please don’t say I work hard. Nobody is forced to do this job and if they don’t like it, they should do another one. If it’s too much, do something else. But don’t start doing it and then say, ‘Aaaah, it’s too much’. Because a lot of people depend on it. What we do at Chanel, thousands of people work on these things; these things are sold in hundreds and hundreds of shops all over the world… People buy dresses to be happy, not to hear about somebody who suffered over a piece of taffeta. Me, I like to make an effort.”

On Andy Warhol: “I shouldn’t say this, but physically he was quite repulsive.”

On the Middleton sisters: “Kate Middleton has a nice silhouette and she is the right girl for that boy. I like that kind of woman, I like romantic beauties. On the other hand, her sister struggles. I don’t like the sister’s face. She should only show her back.”

On politics: “I never voted in my life. I will never vote. I know too much about politics from what’s going on backstage. To vote you have to believe all that garbage that they promise you, and they can’t keep those promises. If someone gave me an Obama pin, I would just put it on.”

On political correctness: “Be politically correct, but please don’t bother other people with conversation about being politically correct, because that’s the end of everything. You want to create boredom? Be politically correct in your conversation.”

On going to the cinema: “I don’t go to movie theatres because I don’t want to be photographed by strangers. People bother me wherever I go. I like to imagine the world my way. I don’t want second-rate images of the world.”

On selfies: “They are this horrible thing where you are distorted. The chin is too big, the head is too small. No, this is electronic masturbation.”

On wasting money: “If you throw money out of the window throw it out with joy. Don’t say, ‘One shouldn’t do that’ – that is bourgeois.”

On retirement: “Why should I stop working? If I do, I’ll die and it’ll all be finished. I’m lucky to work in the most perfect of conditions. I can do what I want in all kinds of areas. The expenses are not expenses. I would be stupid to stop that. Work is making a living out of being bored.”

Jordan Hirst
Jordan Hirst

Jordan Hirst is an experienced journalist and content creator with a career spanning over a decade at QNews. Since 2012, the Brisbane local has covered an enormous range of topics and subjects in-depth affecting the LGBTIQA+ community, both in Australia and overseas. Today, the Brisbane-based journalist covers everything from current affairs, politics and health to sport and entertainment.

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