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A man of many hats, Karl Lagerfeld talks about a more focused approach into advertising with a new interview involving W Magazine. Speaking about his affinity for advertising, Lagerfeld also discusses some of the peculiarities that come with the territory including his jam-packed schedule and the ensuing lifestyle that surrounds it. A series of answers are seen below while the entire interview can be seen here.
Well, let’s start with this ad campaign you’ve done for Magnum Ice Cream.
I’ve done many ads because that’s my new career. It’s an inspiring extension for my mind. I always loved advertising. If I hadn’t been in fashion, I’d have been in advertising. I like everything about it. I think it’s an interesting expression of the culture of the moment. I just put out a huge book about the history of German advertising from 1900-1920, because it was the best period. It’s not very well known, but there were great artists. And those posters—when they show up, there are hardly any left—sell for fortunes. It’s a very interesting book, I must say. In fact it’s a box with 12 books.
So why ice cream?
Don’t forget my father was a milkman. He produced Carnation milk in Europe under different names, so I like to say he was a milkman. And ice cream is made with milk, no?
Do you eat it?
I would love to if I was allowed to eat sugar, but my doctor told me that sugar wasn’t needed for me so I haven’t touched it in ten years. I also did the ad for Dom Pérignon and I don’t drink alcohol, but I think it’s a very civilized drink.
You’re a busy man.
I’m always busy. You know, the more I do, the more ideas I have—that’s the funny thing. The brain is a muscle, and I’m a kind of body-builder.
Do you ever take vacations?
I’m not an employee who goes to the office every morning at the same time. Then, vacations are needed. I’m like a rock singer with one-night stands on the road. I’m here for two days in New York; I leave in the morning early. I come back for Anna Wintour’s party at the Met, then again at the end of May for a prize I get from the Gordon Parks Foundation. I’m lucky that I can do all these things in the best conditions. I don’t have to struggle for that. I don’t have to discuss budgets. I don’t do meetings. At Chanel, there are no meetings. At Chanel, we do what we want, whenever we want and it works. And Fendi is the same.
Do you ever think about cutting your hair?
No, because I’m afraid it won’t grow again. And I’m not very gifted for hairdos. This is the quickest thing in the world. It takes less than five seconds.
Do you do it yourself?
No, I have someone who comes to the house and washes it, puts in the dry shampoo, and takes care if it because I have no time. I don’t even have time to go to the dentist. I’m busy but in a pleasant way. I’m the one who wanted to do all of it, so I can’t complain.
What are your thoughts on Dior? Who should take over?
Well I’m not a consultant there, but I think Riccardo Tisci would be good, and then Haider Ackermann at Givenchy—not because they are friends of mine, but because they are good.
So we’ll be seeing more ads from you.
I saw newspapers saying that maybe I do too much because I work with big companies—Coca-Cola, Sky TV, Magnum, Schwarzkopf, which is like L’Oreal in Europe. I’m not going to calm down, because that’s not my nature. But I don’t have to think about what’s next. I think that’s a very healthy thing. The Ivory Tower in the end will kill you.
You’ve famously worn Dior Homme, Tom Ford. What menswear designers do you like now?
Tom Ford is not as good on me as younger men. And you know why? Because I wore the same kind of clothes thirty years ago—Italian-made by Caraceni. I love the way Tom Ford suits are made. They’re chic; they’re elegant. But on my younger entourage, they look better than on me. I wear Dior Homme—my old Hedi Slimane suits. The ones they do today, too, as long as they don’t get too flou. And a little Lanvin. I used to love Margiela, but it’s not him anymore and it shows a little. I used to buy quite a lot of Japanese labels, too, like Undercover and Number (N)ine, but that one disappeared. Mister Hollywood does well-made clothes. You know, I hate made-by-order clothes. It’s up to me to fit into them, not to buy some orthopedic stuff to get the body into. I never had one button touched on a Dior suit. Size 48 is my perfect size. In the past you had to do fittings because there was nothing really good. But when I went to Caraceni thirty years ago, there was one fitter for waistcoat, one for jacket, one for pants—it took hours. You needed three months to get the clothes. No, no, no. I like things immediately.
Is there one thing that you don’t like a woman to wear?
I’m not mad for thongs.