Fashion: Chinwag and pearls from the Kaiser: Karl Lagerfeld pointed his jet towards London last week. Marion Hume cornered him for a chat

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My friend Karl Lagerfeld jetted into London and then back out again one day last week. He was treated like a king at the Royal College of Art gala show, which some of us thought was a bit rich as our own Queen Viv Westwood was there too, and unheralded.

Anyway, Karl and I found time for a chinwag, and here are a few of the Kaiser's pearls of wisdom.

Karl on hotels.

I prefer to sleep in my own bed (so he brought his own jet).

Karl on fashion colleges.

The English are the best. They mix fantasy with the down-to-earth. The French are too basic, or so far beyond that they go there instead of going to see Dr Freud. My Viennese students are too pretentious . . .

Why did he give a prize (won by RCA student Anna Mason), for pounds 5,000, fees for a year and a month's work with him in Paris, to a British college?

Because I started my career when I won a contest aged 16. Everyone says Saint Laurent came first and I came second. No no no] There were two prizes, his for the dress and mine for the coat.

How important is England style?

I knew more people in London in the Seventies than now. Now everybody comes to Paris. Before, going to London was something, now not such a big deal.

But what about British street style?

I prefer to imagine everything from my window. I like the idea better than reality and sometime it can be more creative, no?

What about the British dress sense?

The young, they dress very well. Older, you know I'm not that crazy for printed dresses. But the British seem to have more fun at their parties, and they don't look retouched or have those hair-dos.

What about New York? Everyone who is anyone is moving their shows there.

Oh] And the New York people, they are afraid to death. I was supposed to do a show, not even a fashion show, only a special thing for the launch of my new perfume, on the last day of the New York fashion shows. Gianni Versace wanted to make his show in NYC on the first day of the shows - that's not very polite in another country - and they went frantic. I'm used to an open city in Paris, but the Americans, they are very nervous. . . .

Is that because they think European designers will show them up as provincial?

I don't want to be pretentious and say yes . . . you see what I mean.

Who do you consider divine?

Daryl Hannah, she's the face of my perfume, Sun Moon and Stars, with her moonbeam white hair. Yet she thinks she is not as beautiful as she is. She and Nadja Auermann, they are like those strange creatures from another planet, Mars Mata Haris, spies from another place. Theirs is the most modern beauty.

What about lovely Linda? I hear she was game enough to fling herself into the snow for your Snow Queen advertisement campaign for the Chloe label, for winter.

In terms of real modelling, Linda is unique. She can be everything, the little girl, the lady, the stranger, the romantic, the icy one. Linda is a genius and there are not many girls in the history of modelling who have what Linda has. The baby boom (the waifs), it's fun, they are cute, but I prefer the older ones.

On Claudia Schiffer.

Beautiful with no make-up, with make-up she's a Barbie doll. She's much better when she speaks French; she has little funny ways to say things which are very charming. In German she becomes boring, a little well-brought-up bourgeoise.

On copying (following YSL's successful suit against Ralph Lauren).

I like it. Coco Chanel said copying was a good thing. (Chanel, which polices its name vigorously, takes a different view.)

On soothsayers.

Yes, I had one. Many things she said had come true. One day I was in my car, the phone rang and it was her telling me I was going to my lawyers and there was a mistake on page seven of the document I would sign - and there was]

On this chat: you're in a hurry, I should go.

I'm not a dentist waiting for the next patient] But I'll see you in Paris. Come to the atelier before, so that you see how things are done

(Sub-text: so that you understand and don't therefore say that marvellously surreal, intellectually rigorous hats make supermodels look like blind mice.)

Bye bye]

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