Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Karl Lagerfeld, 1933-2019

Karl Lagerfeld has passed onto a more chic mode of being. I wrote this blog roughly from the ages of 15-21. I lived in a small town and high school was dull and boring -- it's not an exaggeration to say that Karl was in some ways my teenager-hood. I woke up this morning to a bunch of emails in my inbox -- I kept reading 'was' and it was clear that Karl was dead.

Karl had a sense of the absurdity of fashion. He loved books. He hated the past. He literally mined his entire aesthetic from the past. He was a delightful contradiction. His mother, who bore a more than a passing resemblance to him (she used to say to him "you look like me, but not as good") died at 82. Instead of bed rest, she went to get her hair done. 

When you are a certain age you grasp onto myths: I had an obsession with William Eggleston, Truman Capote, Rei Kawakubo -- myth-like people -- characters who can be defined by a few lines. Karl was always the most mythic. I watched Lagerfeld Confidential and read The Beautiful Fall and became entrenched within this world where it's perfectly sane to buy a thousand dollar shoe-horn, because of course. That world feels gone, largely -- billionaires are tacky and boring -- a thousand Patagonia vests won't make up for a well-made Chanel cardigan. Yves Saint Laurent is dead. Warhol is dead. Issy Blow is dead. Karl knew he was the last -- he was a remnant of the Weimar Republic -- of decadence and the imagined Berlin of Lou Reed's Berlin. He had three hundred ipods. He had silver rings strewn about in bowls, like metallic candy. 

Karl probably would've found death the end and moved on. This is the man who wrote, "I have no human feelings." Karl's mother didn't tell him about the death of his father for weeks -- she said to him "you don't like funerals, why should I tell you?" -- his image, like Warhol's, was so fixed in the last two decades (the 'skinny Karl' era, let's say) that at some point he ceased to become human - this was the joke, of course. I always smirked at news outlets that tried to court outrage with his often ridiculous comments -- the ridiculousness was the joke, they weren't in on it. The point was never to take what he said seriously - the point was his continued elevation of a character, the ultimate act of fashion; utterly superficial and sincere.


Ruby said...

The last say, the proper end note on the enigma that was KL. Cheers to Karl ( and that's with a tall glass of Diet Coke with ice). So glad to read a post from you again.

Unknown said...

Even Four years later- the empty spot where Karl once inhabited - is empty, and yet, sometimes pained with an inconsolable grief. No one- not even God - can fill that space. I sure miss him. Karl Was My Father. May we recognize each other in the next life.