[July 13 2020] : Magazine
portraits by JUERGEN TELLER
interview by OLIVIER ZAHM
An interview with Karl Lagerfeld is an artistic performance — an unbroken flow of ideas, stories, jokes, word games, asides, fashion criticism, and good advice. He’s totally honest and he speaks his mind. And he loves to laugh. Of course, he does have the power of his position, and he has been gifted with the confidence to say what he really thinks. He’s always fully present and will talk for as long as stimulating questions are posed to him. But he’ll recoil if you delve too deep.
The most important thing about Karl Lagerfeld is that he’s probably the last real giant of fashion. He’s been intensly involved in the last five incredible decades of fashion history. Yet he only looks to the future — without a trace of sentimental nostalgia.
He works non-stop, reads non-stop, travels non-stop. He never seems to sleep. He’ll take photographs all night long if that’s what it takes. And he has never — ever — lost his vision or his ambition. He loves the game. Maybe that’s why he excels at it.
OLIVIER ZAHM — What’s your favorite occupation?
KARL LAGERFELD — Everything I’m doing: fashion, photography, books, drawings. I couldn’t ask for more. Not watching the clock. Reading, working, photographing without worrying about the time.
OLIVIER ZAHM — That’s true. How do you organize your days?
KARL LAGERFELD — In the morning I draw, at home, until it’s time for a late lunch. Then in the afternoon I go out for errands and to fittings. I like having my mornings free to draw, read, look at the newspapers, and to recharge my batteries. I sleep seven hours a night.
OLIVIER ZAHM — I’ve gotten faxes from you at 5 a.m. You sometimes read and work until 6 a.m.
KARL LAGERFELD — As long as I’m excited or amused, I’m never tired. Except when I’m annoyed or when things aren’t yet going the way I want. I see that those who eat and drink alcohol get more tired than I do, although they’re all younger. I eat healthily with no sugar or fat, don’t drink, and don’t smoke. All this gives me a certain feeling of lightness. I have the feeling my head is a crystal ball. At the same time, I always feel like I’m behind a glass wall, separated from the world, and...
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