News & Runway

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld

He’s not tweeting right now.
Photo: Getty Images

Few designers are as quotable as Karl Lagerfeld. In fact, there are entire webpages devoted to the designer’s quips. At 81, Lagerfeld is arguably bigger than ever as he continues to helm his own label, along with Chanel and Fendi, while hitting the party circuits and staying on top of a never-ending marketing machine, which includes Karlito bag charms and collector edition Lagerfeld Barbies. Not one to shy away from an interview, here’s a look at 10 things you may not know about the white-haired designer.

  1. Hedi Slimane’s designs inspired him to lose weight. Before being introduced to Slimane, Lagerfeld was “extra-large.” According to New York magazine, the designer became so enamored with Slimane and his work that it sparked an obsession with losing weight. Not only did Lagerfeld end up losing 90 pounds on a low-calorie diet, he wrote a book about it.
  2. He has contradictory views on social media. The fitting rooms in the designer’s London namesake flagship come equipped with selfie-ready iPads preloaded with Lagerfeld-inspired photo filters. Ironically, the designer — who has pioneered all sorts of luxury accessories for mobile devices — has said that he doesn’t understand social networks and hates selfies. “Those social networks, there’s something sad about them. Is it because they don’t have enough knowledge about friends and people? I don’t understand it. It’s like a talkative mirror where people talk to themselves. And what I hate most in life is selfies,” he once told WWD. In another interesting move for someone who isn’t into tech, the designer launched emotiKarl, an emoji app, to promote his latest fragrance.
  3. He directed a movie with Pharrell Williams. The film made its debut last week. Filmed in Paris, the film also includes Cara Delevingne and 6-year-old Hudson Kroenig.
  4. He doesn’t want you to buy him a coffee table book. You’d think that a man so into aesthetics would have a soft spot for beautiful coffee table books; not the case. The designer told WWD that books aren’t meant to look like gravestones on a table. “A book,” he said, “has to be easy to open and you don’t have to be a bodybuilder to lift it. I like books I can read in bed. Those big tombstones would kill me.”
  5. He’s collaborating with Justin Bieber. According to Justin’s Instagram, big things are coming from the unlikely duo.
  6. He is addicted to Pepsi. In fact, not only is Lagerfeld addicted to Pepsi, according to Page Six, he keeps a butler on hand to follow him around at parties with a goblet of Pepsi Max on a silver tray.
  7. He thinks his cat is the most beautiful in the world. By now, the world at large is familiar with Lagerfeld’s cat Choupette. So recognizable is his cat in fact that Shu Uemura’s holiday collection, called Shupette, is fronted by the white Siamese cat. While the designer has had dogs in the past, he now prefers cats as they don’t require being walked on the street or having a country house. “I cannot walk in the street anymore. I mean, you know, in the age of cell phones, forget about it. In the city, cats are very easy to keep, because they are so clean. She is the most beautiful cat in the world,” he revealed in an interview with Jessica Chastain.
  8. He’s had his signature ponytail since 1976. In the inaugural issue of quarterly men’s magazine M, the designer revealed that in the 70s he grew tired of having long, curly hair, so he pulled it back into a ponytail and that’s been his signature hairstyle ever since. It was 1995 when his hair turned ashy gray and, because he doesn’t like hair products, the only thing he uses to style his hair is Klorane dry shampoo.
  9. He wanted to become a cartoonist, but thought he’d make more money in fashion. The designer has said that he hoped to become a cartoon artist, but that he always loved fashion and thought he could make a better living pursuing that career path. Interestingly for a designer at the helm of two of the world’s biggest luxury brands, when he first began his career his mother told him, “Oh, it is good, it shows that you are not a snob because otherwise you would never do a job like this.”
  10. He has no time for alcohol. Claiming that he falls asleep instantly when he drinks, the designer stays away from alcohol. He also claims to stay away from cigarettes because he needs his hands “for sketching,” and attributes his ageless skin to washing it every day before bed, according to ELLE.