Karl Lagerfeld Uncensored: On Newsweek, Adele, Mink and More
Newsweek is a ‘shitty little paper’
The notoriously serpent-tongued Karl Lagerfeld has launched an attack on Newsweek, responding to an article in the February 6 issue in which Robin Givhan called the famed designer “overrated.” Lagerfeld said he had “never heard of” Givhan and made sure that she didn’t have her usual front-row seat at Chanel during Fashion Week. The Pulitzer Prize-winning Givhan predicted her punishment, acknowledging in the article that her criticism “rings like heresy” in the fashion world. Nearly two months later, Lagerfeld is apparently still hung up on the story, claiming in a press conference on Friday that he’s sorry editor Tina Brown is “going down” with a “shitty little paper.” Lagerfeld may not handle criticism well, but he certainly has a history of dishing it out. From calling Adele “a little too fat” to labeling Yves Saint Laurent “very provincial,” a few of the designer’s uncensored opinions.
Adele is ‘a little too fat’
Lagerfeld is infamous for championing the thin look in fashion, whether in reference to his own weight loss (“My only ambition in life,” Lagerfeld once said, “is to wear size 28 jeans”) or curvy women in magazines (“no one wants to see a round woman.” Last month, while running his mouth in an interview with Metro Paris, he said singing sensation Adele was “a little too fat,” prompting a media uproar and even criticism from Madonna, who told The Sun his comment was “the most ridiculous thing I’ve ever heard.” Adele gracefully brushed off his offensive remarks, telling People, "I represent the majority of women and I'm very proud of that." Lagerfeld was quick to do damage control, issuing an apology to the singer in Metro Paris: “I’d like to say to Adele, I am your biggest admirer. Sometimes when you take a sentence out of the article it changes the meaning of the thought.”
Animals would ‘kill us if they could’
In 2009, Lagerfeld defended his use of fur in Chanel’s collections. Animals may be killed and skinned in the fur-making process, but the result is “an industry that lives.” Strangely, he wasn’t referring to the fashion industry but to the hunters who “make a living” by selling pelts and “killing those beasts who would kill us if they could.” PETA went particularly wild over that one, saying in a statement, “When was the last time a person’s life was threatened by a mink or rabbit?”
‘I don’t know’ Heidi Klum
After proclaiming that Heidi Klum was “too heavy” to be modeling on the catwalk, Lagerfeld essentially wrote off the supermodel’s career. “I don’t know her,” he told a British tabloid in 2009. “Claudia [Schiffer] doesn’t know her. She was never in Paris. We don’t know her.” As if that weren’t enough, he made a vicious personal swipe at Klum’s then-husband Seal. “I am no dermatologist, but I wouldn’t want his skin … He is covered in craters.” While the designer has never been known to hold his tongue, the public was particularly put off by these remarks. Klum, meanwhile, was more baffled than miffed. “It's bizarre to me that he says he doesn't know who I am because he's dressed me in the past,” she told the New York Post.
Short, unattractive people are ‘the worst’
When asked by British Vogue to share his thoughts on those that aren’t blessed with physical beauty, Lagerfeld was characteristically uncouth. “Life is not a beauty contest, some [ugly people are great]. What I hate is nasty, ugly people … the worst is ugly, short men … they are mean and they want to kill you.” We don’t follow the thought process either, but coming from a man who once profoundly claimed that “vanity is the healthiest thing in life,” his rambling makes a bit more sense.
Princess Diana was ‘stupid’
Lagerfeld is allegedly rather cozy with the royals. In a 2006 interview with New York magazine, he boasted of hobnobbing with Prince Charles and Camilla Bowles, whom he lavished with praise. “She’s sparkling, she’s witty, she’s ready for everything, and not pretentious,” he said. As for the late Princess Diane, “she was pretty and she was sweet, but she was stupid.”
Warhol was ‘physically repulsive’
Though they moved in similar social circles in the ‘60s, Lagerfeld never warmed to Andy Warhol, telling Vice magazine that he always felt like “an outsider” among Warhol and his Factory friends, even though Andy was “very nice.” As for his work, “the drama is that Andy was an OK illustrator who became a great artist.” And he never wanted Andy to do a portrait of him because he already had plenty done by other artists like Helmut Newton and Irvin Penn. Furthermore, Warhol’s looks were a real turnoff. “I shouldn’t say this, but physically he was quite repulsive.”
Wishes former muse well, ‘so long as I don’t have see her or hear her spoken about’
French model Ines de la Fressange was the face of Lagerfeld’s fashion house in the ‘80s, until she and the designer had a falling out in 1989, "after a fracas over her lending her likeness to the French republic," according to Women’s Wear Daily. Naturally, Lagerfeld didn’t hesitate to voice his bitterness. “I wish her all the luck in the world,” he said after their rift, “just so long as I don’t have to see her anymore or hear her spoken about.” Twenty years later, Lagerfeld had a change of heart and cast her in his spring 2011 runway show. "She is beyond stunning,” he told WWD.
Lagerfeld’s male peers are ‘boring’
This is news to us, but Lagerfeld apparently gets along swimmingly with everyone—everyone “except men my age, who are bourgeois, retired, or boring.”
Yves Saint-Laurent is ‘very provincial’
Lagerfeld’s rivalry with fellow French designer Yves Saint-Laurent goes way back. They were friends during their teenage years, when they both studied at a Paris trade school for couturiers. But Saint-Laurent rose in fashion’s ranks before Lagerfeld, and the designers had dramatically different styles. Lagerfeld turned his nose up at Saint-Laurent in a 1984 interview with London’s Observer Magazine, describing him as “very middle of the road French—very pied-noir, very provincial.”
‘I’m never pleased with myself’
This explains a few things. Though Lagerfeld spends a great deal of time criticizing other people, the designer is rather critical of himself, too. Despite creating his eponymous label and designing for Chanel and Fendi, Lagerfeld is still prone to self-loathing. “I’m never pleased with myself,” he told British Vogue last year. “I always think I’m lazy and that I could do better.”