Through the Lens

{editorial} Thirty Minutes With Karl Lagerfeld, Via W Magazine

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Like an Energizer Bunny in black shades and biker gloves, Karl Lagerfeld just keeps going, somehow finding time to photograph fashion stories, film short movies, and publish art books—all on top of designing two clothing lines. Directing commercials has become his latest passion; and last Thursday his series of three-minute spots for Magnum Ice Cream, each starring Rachel Bilson and her sweet-tooth, debuted as part of the Tribeca Film Festival. Earlier in the day, W had the opportunity to sit down Lagerfeld, and over sliced pineapple and Diet Coke, discuss everything from who ought to design Dior to the one thing he actually can’t do.

Do you ever take vacations?
I’m not an employee who goes to the office every morning at the same time. Then, vacations are needed. I’m like a rock singer with one-night stands on the road. I’m here for two days in New York; I leave in the morning early. I come back for Anna Wintour’s party at the Met, then again at the end of May for a prize I get from the Gordon Parks Foundation. I’m lucky that I can do all these things in the best conditions. I don’t have to struggle for that. I don’t have to discuss budgets. I don’t do meetings. At Chanel, there are no meetings. At Chanel, we do what we want, whenever we want and it works. And Fendi is the same.

What are your thoughts on Dior? Who should take over?
Well I’m not a consultant there, but I think Riccardo Tisci would be good, and then Haider Ackermann at Givenchy—not because they are friends of mine, but because they are good.

You seem to have a love/hate relationship with technology. You have hundreds of iPods but you don’t use a computer. You correspond by fax.
There are people who only have a fax because of me.

Well, because it’s so outdated!
Well, I don’t want to be in-fashion.

But, really, why do you still fax?
It’s very easy to explain: For me, sketching and writing are the same thing. I like to write. It’s a physical thing—I hate to be without paper and pencil in hand. And I write like a talk. I can put my way of talking on the paper exactly the same way. The machines they tried to make where you write directly on computers are not perfect. The minute they’re perfect, I will use them.

 How do you like a woman to dress?
It depends on the circumstances, her look, her life. There is no rule that I could reduce to two lines.

Is there one thing that you don’t like a woman to wear?
I’m not mad for thongs.

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