When designer Karl Lagerfeld died two weeks ago at the age of 85, he left a lot of runways to fill. The ponytailed German-born designer spent decades working as the creative director of fashion houses such as Chanel and Fendi. Rarely caught without his sunglasses and fingerless gloves, Lagerfeld had a lifetime of lessons he shared openly — often with some controversy, but always with the quick wit and candor he had come to be known for in the fashion world.
To celebrate his incredible career, it's worth revisiting some of his memorable comments — especially his advice about fashion. Here are some of my favorites:
"To say that there is no fashion anymore is ridiculous. The fashion of no-fashion is still fashion. And fashion is a train that waits for nobody. Get on it, or it's gone."
"A respectable appearance is sufficient to make people more interested in your soul."
"I like to reinvent myself. It's part of my job. I'm very much down-to-earth, just not this earth."
"Luxury is the ease of a T-shirt in a very expensive dress."
"Never use the word 'cheap.' Today, everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes (the rich buy them, too). There is good clothing design on every level today. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans — it's up to you."
"I want everyone to wear what they want and mix it in their own way. That, to me, is what is modern. Reinvent new combinations of what you already own. Improvise. Become more creative. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Evolution is the secret for the next step."
"Buy what you don't have yet, or what you really want, which can be mixed with what you already own. Buy only because something excites you, not just for the simple act of shopping."
"Fashion is about two things: the evolution and the opposite. It is neither moral or immoral but is for rebuilding the morale."
"Think pink, but don't wear it." And another warning: "Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants."
Lagerfeld's capricious outlook on life is captured in several books by author Patrick Mauries. Check them out: "The World According to Karl," "Choupette: The Private Life of a High-Flying Cat," and "Chanel: The Complete Karl Lagerfeld Collections (Catwalk)." His last collection for Chanel debuts in Paris at the Grand Palais on March 5. You can see it in its entirety on www.chanel.com.
A revealing podcast and the last interview Karl Lagerfeld conducted is now streaming on Vogue.com. Karl's last words: "My job is to promote fantasy."
Thanks, Karl, for giving us a lifetime of fashion fantasies. You will be missed.
To find out more about Sharon Mosley and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate website at www.creators.com.