A model presents outfits by Karl Lagerfeld during the Chanel Metiers d'Art Pre-Fall collection show, entitled "Paris-Bombay" in Paris. Fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld on Tuesday came to the defence of luxury in a time of economic crisis, criticising ratings agencies and rejecting a climate of "general gloominess."
Fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld on Tuesday came to the defence of luxury in a time of economic crisis, criticising ratings agencies and rejecting a climate of "general gloominess."
Lagerfeld, head designer at Chanel for nearly 30 years, made his comments on the sidelines of a Chanel show at the Grand Palais in Paris.
He defended the fashion industry for its importance to the French economy and as a provider of many jobs.
Chanel created for its show the luxurious palace of an Indian maharajah as the backdrop for its "anti-gloom" ready-to-wear collection.
Lagerfeld described the collection as "very elaborate, a lot more expensive than the normal ready-to-wear," evoking the fantasy of India.
For the German-born designer, periods of economic crisis have no influence on creation.
Besides, he added, there was "a lot more panic in 2008 than today."
NOTE: As anyone who knows me could (and I’m afraid would) readily attest, I’m the last person in the world to comment on fashion (especially high fashion) matters. Male and corporately traditional, I strongly objected to the advent of individually creative “casual Fridays” in the workplace when I dwelt in those precincts. In post-corporate life, sadly, I’ve sunk to “Nature Boy”/L’il Abner daily levels of sartorial “don’ts.”
But I wanted to post the Lagerfeld/Chanel story above because it’s so refreshing to see someone offer a straightforward, sincere, no-nonsense defense of his industry and livelihood. I cannot help comparing and contrasting it to the (alert: incoming ‘60s-ism) “plastic,” phony speech given by our president yesterday in Osawatomie, Kansas. Every single word of his interminable elephantine (yes, I watched the whole thing) remarks was intended to manipulate, distract and divert attention from the dire results of three years of administration actions and policies. The Straw Man, the president's boon companion, was present and on duty, of course -- mute, satanic and infinitely flexible in his depredations (past, present and future, a kind of pre-Christmas ghost trinity) and capacity for mischief. So he's Teddy Roosevelt now? Good grief -- what next?
Somehow, Karl Lagerfeld, whose story I became interested when I read Alicia Drake's "The Beautiful Fall" several years ago, seems a lot realer, warmer and less “plastic” than Mr. “Wagyu Beef For Me/ Food Stamps For Thee.”
Young(er) Karl Lagerfeld