I’ve written about Karl Lagerfeld often on this blog. In the past I found much to admire about him: his drive, his levels of energy, his capability to go in different directions, his ability to change mentally and physically. He was also quite the wit, as can be seen here and here, and I admired that too.
Not everyone feels this way, however. The Guardian gives you a sense of that here. The New York Times calls Lagerfeld a “firehose of offense”, and they are not wrong. His disparaging remarks about any woman he considered “fat” are infamous. Over at hyperallergic they open their own firehose of criticism back at Karl. Not my approach, but again, some (not all) of what they related is true.
Despite all that, Lagerfeld still has allies. Like Anna Wintour, a friend who thought highly of him. It’s not a fluke he was the focus of the recent Met Gala, run by Wintour. And anyone who cares for fashion and design that flipped through this retrospective the Tines did of his work at Chanel, Fendi, H&M would agree just how influential and powerful his work was.
So what to do with difficult people? I often think the best way to think and talk about them is like this. Instead of saying “I admire Mr/Ms X”, I try to say, “There are things I admire about Mr/Ms X” or “I admire anyone who can do Y”. That is the case when it comes to me and Karl Lagerfeld now. There are things I admire about Lagerfeld. And I admire anyone who can do some of the things he achieved.
Like any famous person, Karl Lagerfeld is not my friend, my foe, or even a member of my family. I don’t have to accept or reject him unconditionally. You don’t have to either.
P.S. All this was driven by the recent Met Gala. Here’s more from the New York Times on this year’s event, which was based around Lagerfeld. Also here’s a look back at the Met Gala’s red carpet shenanigans from the last decade.
Besides being a famous fashion designer, he is also well known for the Karl Lagerfeld diet. You can read more about that here and here and here and here.