Ah, Karl Lagerfeld, that enigmatic pillar of fashion. Best-known for his creations at Chanel and his sometimes shocking remarks on life and pop culture (remember the furore over his comment on Adele?), the much-feared Kaiser Karl is certainly a controversial figure that people love or hate. THE FIFTH COLLECTION sets out to unearth some lesser-known facts about this revered designer in a small attempt to re-humanise him...
1. Ever wondered why Karl is never seen without his fingerless gloves? That's because one of his biggest influences, his mother, who much preferred Sonia Rykiel to her own son's designs told him he had ugly hands.
2. We all know that Karl is a huge book lover and collector, but did you know that he is also a book dealer and publisher? He opened Librairie 7L in 1999 (which he uses to shoot his campaigns as well) and subsequently collaborated with Gerhard Steidl in 2000 to create 7L edition in Paris.
3. Uncle Karl sleeps for precisely 7 hours each night, no more no less. THE FIFTH COLLECTION thinks this is a great way of taking care of yourself and ensuring you have enough rest while having a productive day, but we have some other advice elsewhere in this edition of page five.
4. He only drinks Diet Coke and detests hot drinks. All that artificial sweetener can't be that good for you Karl!
5. Some of his drawings are more highly valued than pieces from Jean Cocteau, as Marie-Louise de Clermont-Tonnerre (the head of international public relations for Chanel) found out when she got her apartment insured.
6. Karl now carries 4 iPhones, 3 iPods (from the hundreds that he has stored away in a custom Louis Vuitton trunk) and one iPad with him everywhere in a Celine box. Not bad coming from the man in the past professed to have never used cell phones as he believed they were an interruption to his daily life.
7. To most, Karl is a man who appears rather aloof and sometimes even cold. His friends and long time collaborators would disagree and say he is an extremely caring and generous man. Lady Amanda Harlech, who is today one of his most trusted collaborators at Chanel, was once John Galliano's collaborator but she was orphaned when he moved to Dior. Lagerfeld found out and came to the rescue, and the rest is history.
8. If you look exceptionally stunning and happen to run into Karl, he may just stop you on the street to tell you that you're beautiful. This happened to a friend of ours in Paris and, needless to say, it was quite surreal.
9. Karl uses a unique medium for his illustrations: he has been using Shu Umera eye shadows to create his famed sketches for over 20 years.
10. Each year, Karl designs at least 17 collections in total. Besides Chanel, he also works on his namesake collection and Fendi. Let's not forget his collaboration with Melissa, and his countless endeavours in the fashion and publishing world. Kaiser Karl is a very busy man indeed, and at his age we at THE FIFTH COLLECTION have nothing but respect for him.