Saturday, October 31, 2009
By Karl Lagerfeld.
One day, as I was taking off my quilted sleeping mask and ringing the bell beside my bed for my morning-butler, I felt an odd benevolent feeling surge within me. Non, it was not a surge- it was just a tickle. Now normally I equate “benevolence” with charitable old men, who are balding and senile. These old men probably are chairmen of a bank someplace, and they most likely have grandchildren whom they dote like a fashion designer dotes upon his mother. I do not have any grandchildren; banks bore me and I am most certainly not senile. Yet I felt slightly benevolent as I thought to myself: “I should write a book about how to live in a proper fashion.” Of course, this would mean helping people, as hardly anybody knows how to live these days. This itself led to a moral dilemma: do I really want to help people? Do they deserve my help, hmm? I debated this with myself for all of an hour, as I sketched out the latest Chanel collection. Yet this niggling charitable feeling simply would not go away, even as I practised my passive-aggressive face in the mirror. I pursed my lips, and eventually decided on a course of action. I would write this book, but only for the sake of posterity (like one might produce a great artwork, a great symphony or somesuch- I am writing this guide to living simply because it would be a crime not to.)
It is safe to assume that since you are reading this book you know who I am. On the chance that you’re some philistine who does not know who I am, some jam-brained sweat suit wearing fattie- well, just stop reading now. However, I’m going to introduce myself anyway. I did consider making one of my cohorts write an introduction- “Karl Lagerfeld is perhaps the most important fashion designer of the 20th and 21st centuries. Here is a man who is always relevant, who has produced more variations on the little black dress than Bach produced variations of the well tempered clavier…”- that sort of thing. I’d get someone people think of highly to write the introduction, whilst looking over their shoulder with a silver cane. Maybe Alber Elbaz, Anna Wintour- someone like that. In the end I couldn’t let somebody else write my introduction, I’m too selfish.
My name is Karl Lagerfeld (but you knew that, assuming you can read the front cover). I am the greatest fashion designer to ever walk this little planet- Chanel became a legend because of my designs, my genius. Before I came to Chanel, it was a near-comatose ugly stepsister, remembered by nobody. Coco Chanel was remembered primarily as the private call-girl to a Nazi and a decent businesswoman (I am not making this up, no joking here. You can look it all up if you don’t believe me). I revived Chanel solely through my own design genius. I also have designed almost every other collection worth noting, whether it is Comme des Garcons or Dior; every decent collection has been designed by me. Other designers put their names to these collections, yet I see the other “designers” scavenging around the bins outside my Parisian abode. They’re looking for the collections I’ve designed which are not good enough for me. Generally, they find them and take the sketches back to their teams who plagiarise my aborted collections. It’s rather similar to stealing a Picasso piece which Picasso himself does not like, or settling for a second-rate lover. All my collections are fantastic lovers, of course, yet I prefer to be incredibly fastidious with the collections I release. Some lovers are more Karl than others, hmm? And the Karl-lover is always better. Besides- if I released too many lover-collections upon the world, they would simply die of sexual ecstasy. Dead customers are deadbeats when it comes to paying their bills.
As you can see from the above paragraph, I’m rather brilliant. You’re probably awed, and your jaw has dropped so low that I must ask you to close it- drool is never chic. Imagine what you’re doing to my pages! It is a privilege to be reading this book, and you should thank your trust fund or whoever gives you money that has allowed you to afford this opportunity. You may never get to speak to me, but at least you can read my words.
This book- a guide to living, if you will- will be organised alphabetically. A, B, C, and so on, until we reach Z and as the children’s song goes, you may start all over again! Everything in here is my strict advice- it is no joke. If you follow these commandments, you will be living a far more chic life! You’ll never equate with I, of course, yet at least you will rise above those plebes not reading this book. Let us begin.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Oh, hello! I am so glad you came by. Cocoa is really nice in the afternoon, no?
You know why I like our little visits? They are elegant. Look, here is that darling Portuguese bringing the tray. Her name? Beach, I am sure of it.
Oh, and she sets up the tea table and goodies, Merriwether is following with the service de the and chocolatiere. Oh, and muffins. Can I interest you in an orange nut muffin?
Restaurants are not really chic. They are so awkward. And some unemployed interior designer barking “excellent choice” at each request. How people enjoy their meal in this environment? Chefs choice? Non, its my choice.
That’s why this economy, oh I keep saying this economy, don’t I? Anyway, this is an opportunity to create a beautiful dining room, enjoy your grandmere’s plates and to be really exclusive. Learn about food, experience it, rather than have some worker bee explain it to you. Do you have a lovely decanter, rimmed in silver with lovely little glasses?
Use the good china. Today is soo special. In my Algerian village, there is a girl who is Eucharistic minister, the one who helps at communion, who sneers when people she doesn’t like approach during mass. Do not invite her with great flourish. Invite instead, her sister who works at a coffee shop, so her children have insurance and a Tennis Club membership.
That wonderful Horyn woman is right. Let the celebrities have their own fashion weeks. We will entertain each other in private. Dinners, fashion, bookclubs.
Ahhhh, use this economy to refine your life. All those divorcees selling their Gucci bags and Rolexes. No, mon amie, you look sooo chic in your leggings and your fathers sweater, the plaid sneakers are charmant. Chic cannot be purchased. Let us sit back, and think of all the people we don’t have to invite, and then blame it on the economy! Vreeland was right when she said refusal is elegance!
Ooh! Ooh! Look! A pretty green hummingbird has joined us! She is over there, in the fuchsia baskets! A lovely guest!
Coco or cocoa?
Could you please pass the apricot cream bread, I think its still warm! Oh lovely!
Oh yes, we were going to speak of the 1970s, of beatniks, and plaids.
We’ll get to that. Those old folkies, they are like granite, we will always have them.
I am so glad you came by today!
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Dear Morally Bankrupt Fatties,
You are terrible people and you should all be ashamed of yourselves. How on Earth do you sleep at night, you two-bit hacks? Do you have families to feed, hmm? How do your children feel, knowing that what you do is email glorious people such as myself with your worthless fodder? How do you live? Don't you feel soul-crushingly depressed when click the "send" button on your pre-written email? Don't you just want to jump out the window like your former and late colleagues have done? You are horrible, dreadful, unsavoury people. Unsavoury! Please, quit your job and become a taxi driver or accountant or stylist while you still can. I implore you! The life you're living is useless!
Good day to you, sirs,
Karl Otto Lagerfeld
Wednesday, October 21, 2009
K: All these models look like trees.
J: That's because they've turned into trees.
K: Very well. Do they still wear the clothes?
J: Indeed they do.
K: In that case I have no problem with models-turning-into-trees, hm?
X: You've already done the old models-turning-into-trees thing before, Karl!
K: Oh, so you think that models turning into trees is a joke, hm?
X: No, but if you go back into one of your previous posts..
J: This is a serious issue, X.
X: X isn't even my real name!
J: Then how come it's on the screen?
X: Because it's a totally arbitrary letter which could stand for anything!
K: It says your name is "X". I just read so, above. Where you come in with the line "X: You've already done the old models-turning-into-trees thing before, Karl!"
X: Oh...it does too.
K: And now you're going to vanish into a pair of rapidly aging- both fashion-wise and quality-wise, Balmain t-shirt.
X: No I'm not!
[X vanishes into Balmain t-shirt]
J: So you mean, by looking at the script we can see what we say next?
K: But of course.
J: But here it says "X reappears in a confusion of logic.."
[X reappears in a confusion of logic..]
X: This is really rather meta.
K: I can do whatever the hell I want. I'm Karl Lagerfeld, and you're just an arbitrary character.
K: Quite right.
K: I agree, Karl.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
Of course, you gannets- meaning the press- take my words out of context and think I'm talking about everybody! I am talking about models. I am not saying the fat mummy from Ohio who eats potato chips all night and watches "Project Runway", saying to her husband "These girls are just too damn skinny" (of course, Project Runway girls aren't proper models anyway.)
That's all. You may all proceed to continue eating your potato chips in front of your television-computer screen, or feeling superior to the rest of the readers of this blog because you aren't eating potato chips.
Saturday, October 10, 2009
1) I noticed about a month ago that my seamstresses were placing bags of brown-black coloured material into hot water, and then drinking it. My seamstresses would gather around in a circle and exchange gossip as they drank this brown liquid. I thought this most curious.
2) After a while, I noticed other people were doing it as well. My assistant, Veronique started drinking the brown liquid. Even the models, who exist on a substance called "Evian" were drinking it. Multiple circles of people drinking the liquid started to form. I noted this phenomena in my handy-dandy notebook as "crop circles."
3) During Paris fashion week, I noticed whole rows of security men and runway-cleaners (a job similar to street cleaner) were dipping the bags of brown-black into hot water. I wondered where on Earth these people got the idea to drink this brown concoction.
4) I asked Yves, who was yawning because he's been dead for a long time now, what this thing-- this brown water thing is. He said it is called "tea". I noted it in my notebook.
4) Yesterday I shouted, in my most thick and treacle-like accent: "WHAT IS THIS TEA?"
Veronique said "Oh Karl, it is something you drink."
"Like diet Coke?"
"Well, you know how diet Coke comes ready-made.."
"Yes. It is pret-a-porter drink. I am, after all, a commoner, hm?"
"Well tea is something you make on the spot"
"Yes, like couture."
"Why is everyone drinking couture?"
She shrugged. "Because they like the taste?"
I thought this was also curious. Couture drink. Whatever next? Well. I was about to find out something far more sinister..
6) I went into the seamstresses break room, where they don't sew but "break", as the name suggests. I saw them in a circle, chanting away- here is the chant:
"You'll never believe but.."
And they kept repeating this chant on and on, and it was at this moment that I realized I was in the middle of a cult.
"You'll never believe but.."
These people worship gods such as: Bell, Dilmah, "Earl Grey", "Lady Grey", "Twinings". I suppose this is the changing world, hm? Couture drinks. Goodness me. I will keep you updated. Maybe you, dear reader, are a part of this cult too.
Plaid Plaid Plaid. Love plaid!
Ahhhhh, the maid brought me a lovely blanket to keep the chill off. A lovely plaid blanket, with fringe. It belonged to my dear mother.
Man learned 12,000 years ago that sheep were worth more alive than dead, when he began to fashion garments to protect his body from hot or freezing temperatures. A deal was struck, man protected the sheep from predators, sheep provided man with food and clothing. Man, born with the most empty closet of the animal kingdom.
Prehistoric sheep grew dark hairy coats that caught on branches or simply fell off their bodies in heavy clumps every spring. This could be plucked by hand, and woolgathering, another word for daydreaming was born. It caught on quickly.
Ah, the Scots. A bunch of thugs who drank beer from their prisoners’ skulls. Scots are just Vikings who got run out of Norway. So these gangs created designs in the wool, different plaids represented who their family was. Oh, plaids and tartans instead of reading and writing!
Do not get dressed today until you have perfected your posture. Beautiful alignment, a gentle sway, that is more important that plaids or cashmere. This economy means we will leave sequined pasties to drive through espresso girls licking whip cream off of each other.
And the telephone. Remember elegance. Don’t say “Is this Yves?’ Give me the option of “May I speak to Yves?’ or , for Karl, Ich mochter mit Yves sprechen bitte.
Oooh, lets get back to plaid and wool.
Futures trading, the carpet ride to riches, or not, was invented by the Cistercian monks. These wise monks began dabbling in the wool trade in the 13th Centruy , as the wool trade from the landowning abbeys grew prosperous. Buyers would pay several times the going rate for a consistent quality of wool. Richard the Lionhearted was ransomed on his return from the Third Crusade by a years worth of Cistercian wool, not cash. Another time his mother, Eleanor of Aquitaine, bailed him out with her 90 carat diamond.
Wool is designed to last forever, so pick some good pieces. Leave the faux furs to oh never mind. Read the Truman Capote short story about second hand furs. Your maid can look it up.
More about plaids later. But plaids are like furniture and jewelry , even better when inherited rather than purchased. And of course, clothes are stored, never curated.
Oh, its time to sit in the garden and have some cocoa, and look at the radiant purple beauty berries. We put them next to bright red dahlias, purple and red. YSL in the garden, purple and red. Its diiiiiiwine. Try that Karl!
We’ll talk again soon. I do so enjoy our little visits!
Thursday, October 8, 2009
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
Ooooh, mes amis, it’s a little brisk outside!. I could see my breath this morning! Un boue de souffle!
Autumn is so pretty! Apples and golden leaves that spiral down into the garden. So peaceful! And another opportunity to be elegant!
Yesterday I spent hours watching a leaf attached to a spider trail, so it remained all afternoon suspended between earth and sky. Oh, the maid brought out the chocolatiere set. Mother gave me the chocolatiere, it is made of lovely porcelain and the cups are so small and lovely, as it is a treat, to be sipped. A moment so sweet that cocoa has its own serving set, so precious The falling leaf, the hot chocolate in little cups so fine you can see your fingers if you hold them up to light, oh what a lovely way to spend an afternoon. Did you smell the plums that fell to the ground?
Bone china comes from pieces so delicate you can see through. It is hardly ever made from the dessicated bones of rival ground up. Well, not so much anymore.
Demitasse are the lovely little cups coffee used to be served on, before the whole big gulp drinking coffee. Karl’s right, you are getting fat.
Autumn is a wonderful time to invite friends over for oysters and a nice Riesling. Do you eat oysters off lovely oyster plates so ornate with little wells for lemon and salt?
Karl, that reminds me of the 1970s, what a lovely time. So creative, before this orgy of consumption. Oh, fashion wasn’t so fast, and littered with day time television people, clutching around their supersized coffees. Ugh, that is right up there with a truffle burger. Truffles, like fine cocoa or coffee, is meant to be savored, and appreciated, not mashed into the burger. Who are these people following off a cliff, like it’s the fall of the Roman Empire?
Do you need a faster computer? A “phone app” to “make it easier to order fast food”? How much easier and faster does fast food need to be? Are you going to stand in front of your microwave screaming Hurry Up? Fried chicken at the Met Ball? Its gluttony.
Slow down and enjoy yourself.
Enjoy the dahlias of this time of year. Some are sunset, dark orange centers with apricot spikes radiating out from the center. Some a royal purple, some a lipstick pink, or vibrant red. Have you seen the French Vogue cover from summer 1983 with Jerry Hall straddling an Air France Jet, wearing only bright red lipstick? It was my lipstick, of course.
Oh, I hope this economy means magazines go back to putting models on the covers.
Oh, this economy isn’t a bad thing, It’s a chance to learn about what counts. If you have a black skirt and sweater, you have what counts. You supply the elegance. Those editors trying to force unwearable clothes on you, ha, budget cuts mean they don’t even have stir sticks for their fake sugar in their coffees.
Oh, I meant for us to chat to day about wonderful plaids and timeless clothes. Oh, plaids. So beautiful for fall. But I am really quite tired. We’ll talk again soon, about plaid. I am dozing off, but my lips smile at a joke of Karl’s. Why do Scotsman wear kilts? Because zippers scare the sheep!A bientot mes amis!
Monday, October 5, 2009
"Did you see Margiela, Frank?"- which isn't a particularly French name, partially on account of Frank being a Bulgarian who wound up in New York years ago, until I decided he had a particular brilliance at pressing elevator buttons and installed him in Paris.
"I did. Martin came to this building after the show, actually. Drunk as an alcoholic whore at a bar...if you don't mind my language"
"Of course I don't. Whores are a necessary part of society, hm?"
"Quite. Anyway- Martin came here- drunk- upset."
"It was quite a show."
"Do you think the designers of the collection studied at Central St. Martins.."
"Ha ha, exactly Monsuier Lagerfeld, exactly"
"Anyway- Martin, you know how he's always looked invisible?"
"Well- normally, the only way I know that Martin's in the elevator is that slight cough he always seems to have. And I actually saw him today!"
"I saw almost all of him- parts of him were still invisible, but as he got out of the elevator, he became more and more visible until he resembled a tourist in a Bermuda shirt and socks with sandals on them"
"As he entered the bar, I heard someone say "Mr. Margiela has left the building".
"How clever of them!"
"Such is Mr. Beckett."
"I heard a rumor too- they're selling Margiela at Walmart now."
"Someone's got to buy it, no?"