A Certain Style: British Vogue July 1984

The following images are scanned from British Vogue, July 1984. The article, by Ingrid Bleichroeder, suggests that Mr Lagerfeld is age 46 years at the time of publication, although his date of birth is noted elsewhere as 1933, making him a little bit older. Ho hum! That’s nothing new in the world of fashion and celebrity I guess!

Also interesting to note that at the age of four, Mr Lagerfeld was asking his parents for a painting of King Frederick II of Prussia whilst at the same age, I was happy with a box of toffee cigarettes! Oh the lives we lead!

This feature is from ‘A Certain Style‘, by Ingrid Bleichroeder.

Karl Lagerfeld 1984

Karl Lagerfeld photographed for British Vogue, July 1984.

I was interested in fashion before I knew the word. My memories are made of clothes. When I was four I saw a painting in a German art gallery – it was of King Frederick II of Prussia with Voltaire – and I knew that that was what I wanted. At first my parents thought it was too expensive and bought me another picture. I was so disappointed that at Christmas they bought me the one I wanted. Style and luxury are the essence of life . . .

Karl Lagerfeld, forty-six, designed for Chloé for twenty years and has now just started his own line, Fan Club. He continues to design furs for Fendi and five collections a year for Chanel. He has apartments in Paris, Monte Carlo, Rome, Vienna (where he teaches at the university) and New York. They are all decorated differently: Louise-Quinze, Italian contemporary, art deco, hi-tech . . . “To mix different styles and centuries is depassé . . .”

“I feel safest in Monte Carlo – protected. It is like a spaceship floating in mid-air.” The décor in his twenty-first floor Monaco apartment reflects this impression with its futuristic constructions by the Milan-based Memphis group. “I live quite happily with things which are genuinely from this era; and Memphis creations are the most genuinely contemporary designs there are.”

The Paris apartment recalls the painting which first alerted him to the possibilities fo style: Louise-Quinze décor, furniture arranged as in the works of Watteau and Boucher, great puffy silk curtains, candelabra everywhere. For Lagerfeld this is the “closed circle of enchantment – the eighteenth century is a fantastic period of culture and perfection.”

But his office, designed by Andrée Putman, is functional: metal furniture, a resilient carpet, plain white walls with some Deborah Turbeville photographs; and eighteen shades of grey, his favourite colour, “the functional spirit of the working place today”.

The lack of distraction is useful. “I see myself as a lazy, unprofessional person. I’m all improvised. But I’m always trying to work better, more seriously . . . When I was a child, my governess told me I would never get anything done because I stayed in bed. Now I get up at 4 am, work until 9 am, go back to bed for two hours and then get dressed. I love the early hours, when the day is coming . . .

Karl Lagerfeld 1984

Karl Lagerfeld photographed for British Vogue, July 1984.

“I change constantly, but I never change my mind. I would wish to be like Virginia Woolf’s Orlando: never being the same but remembering who you are . . . “

His views on style are equally rigorous. “Beauty is not style: ugly monsters can have style. Mick Jagger made ugliness beautiful: the way he moves is so elegant. The Princess of Wales has a wonderful physical attitude. Ines de la Fresange, who models for Chanel, has the most aristocratic physical style – a timeless, perfect beauty which is always modern. And Tina Chow is the same: nothing ever dates on her. But style is individual. Paloma Picasso is not to be imitated, and Anna Piaggi’s style is hers and doesn’t work on anyone else. A woman can be inspirational only by her attitude. There is no style without attitude . . .

“What I like best in life are changes – new fashions, new trends, the next venture. I hate routine, which is why I like to do different collections. But I believe only in discipline, physical and mental. What I hate most in life is laissez-aller – I think that’s just revolting . . . “

Karl Lagerfeld photographed for Vogue by David Bailey.

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