Karl Lagerfeld Quotes: 20 Best Bites from The Creative Mastermind
Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s head designer, is a man of many eccentricities; he’s a creative genius, a vain sociopath, an egocentrist, and, occasionally, a source of wisdom. One thing he isn’t? Boring. The unfiltered fashion designer, artist, and photographer constantly conjures up brilliantly quotable sound bites. Click through for 20 of our favorite Karl Lagerfeld quotes.
“Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweat pants.”
Ah, leggings: a blessing and a curse. The comfy real-pants substitute is an enticing option, especially on cold winter days when getting out of bed is a battle in itself, but unless you're a college student running late to an exam, please leave the sweats at home. You don't have to dress to the nines every day, but well-fitting jeans and a casual top go a long way.
“I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that. It is like a mask. And for me the Carnival of Venice lasts all year long.”
Let your freak flag fly high. Sure, there are certain times and places that require a bit more reserve, but people appreciate a genuine personality. Don’t worry about what others may think: Be yourself and apologize to no one.
“When I was 4, I asked my mother for a valet for my birthday.”
OK, so a 4-year-old with a valet is a tad ridiculous, but we kind of get the gist. Living on a strict budget is a totally smart and responsible move financially, but sometimes you need to bend the rules a bit. Treat yourself every now and then to something special, like that bag you’ve been coveting or a well-deserved trip with someone special.
“The iPod is genius. I have 300.”
We could talk about the importance of music, its healing powers and the innate link between emotions and sounds—because it is an amazing thing—but honestly, we just kind of enjoy this quote for its ridiculousness. Why anyone would need 300 iPods is beyond us.
“I’m busy but in a pleasant way. I’m the one who wanted to do all of it, so I can’t complain.”
We know you're, like, super busy and all, but everyone is these days. Sure, we all vent about our crazy lives from time to time, and that's totally cathartic and healthy, but we have to stop the glorification of busy: Life is all about balance. Work hard, but keep things in perspective, and always make time for the pleasures that make your life enjoyable.
“I am never satisfied with myself, and that is what keeps me going—I have no post-satisfaction.”
We’re taking this quote with a grain of salt. While it’s admirable to never settle for less than your best, it’s equally important to recognize your successes. A healthy sense of self-awareness comes from a combination of satisfaction and a drive to improve.
“What I love best in life is new starts.”
Every new beginning comes with a stirring host of possibilities: opportunities to choose who you want to be, how you want to feel, and what you want to do. It sounds cheesy, and the phrase is encircled in hearts in all our notebooks, but the words carry weight. Embrace new beginnings.
“When I was a child I asked my mother what homosexuality was about and she said … ‘It’s like hair colour. It’s nothing. Some people are blonde, and some people have dark hair. It’s not a subject.’ This was a very healthy attitude.”
The most intrinsic human right is to love and be loved. Everyone should be afforded the same right, regardless of sexual orientation. Take momma Lagerfeld's words to heart and stand up for equality.
Full Quote: "When I was a child I asked my mother what homosexuality was about and she said—and this was 100 years ago in Germany, and she was very open-minded—'It's like hair colour. It's nothing. Some people are blonde, and some people have dark hair. It's not a subject.' This was a very healthy attitude."
“The brain is a muscle, and I’m a kind of body builder.”
This golden nugget comes to us courtesy of an interview with W magazine, in which Lagerfeld discusses his busy schedule as a catalyst for his multitude of ideas. The full quote reads: “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.” A body builder’s weight training is to gold medals as Lagerfeld’s filled-to-the-brim agenda is to brilliant ideas.
“Happiness is like a fever. I don’t take the temperature.”
Lagerfeld reached new depths of insight with this quote. Happiness is an immeasurable and completely relative concept. Everyone’s gauge is different. Figure out what makes you happy, and don’t compare yourself to a futile benchmark. You do you, girl.
“I’m living my memoir. I don’t need to write it. But I do write a lot of prefaces for books.”
We live in a constant stream of information, both the imperative and the frivolous. Our phones are filled with feeds of friends’ innately photogenic lunches, status updates as captions to unrelated selfies, and thoughts re: Miley’s 26 Most WTF Moments. Social media is an amazing tool that brings humans from all proverbial corners of the world together; we’re more connected than ever before, which allows for collaboration, education, and an appreciation for different ways of life. On the flip side, we spend such a perplexing amount of time polishing our virtual personas that we forget to live our real lives. Moderation is key. Power down, and appreciate the beautiful people and moments in life.
“I send notes. I’m not a chambermaid whom you can ring at every moment. Today, you know, most people act like they work at a switchboard in a hotel.”
It’s great that you’ve got your dream job and you love your career, but sometimes you just need to take a break. Burnout is real, people. Take a moment to step away from work and enjoy the things that are important to you. Is the world going to end if you wait until the morning to respond to that email? Probably not. (Unless you’re POTUS or something, then for God’s sake why are you reading this? Answer that email.)
“Be politically correct, but please don’t bother other people with conversation about being politically correct, because that’s the end of everything. You want to create boredom? Be politically correct in your conversation.”
Political affiliations, immigration, women’s rights to their own bodies—hot-button topics are hard to avoid, and why should you? We all have our own opinions, and tasteful debate is healthy conversation. Be willing to share your opinions regardless of what’s politically correct. Remember: It’s important to respect the opinions of others regardless of differences, and every opinion is of equal weight.
“The worst thing is when friends say, ‘Remember the good old days?’ Forget about the good old days! That just makes your present secondhand. What is interesting is now.”
Live in the moment. Sure, it’s fun to reminisce about the past, but yearning for days long over just lessens your attention to the present. Hold your memories tight, learn from your past, and keep moving forward with aplomb.
“I’m very impeccable and clean before I go to bed. It’s just like right before I’m going out.”
So maybe don’t go to bed with a full face of makeup— that would wreak havoc on your skin—but take the time to pamper yourself before cuddling up. Allow yourself a bit of time to decompress from the day with a bubble bath or a face mask. You’ll go to bed refreshed, glowing, and ready to take on tomorrow (or your midnight date).
Full Quote: “I’m very impeccable and clean before I go to bed. It’s just like right before I’m going out. When I was a child, my mother always told me that you could wake up in the middle of the night and be deathly sick, so you always have to be impeccable. I laugh about it now, but I think everyone should go to bed like they have a date at the door.”
“Those social networks, there’s something sad about them. Is it because they don’t have enough knowledge about friends and people? … It’s like a talkative mirror where people talk to themselves. And what I hate most in life is selfies.”
Social media has vastly changed the way we interact with one another. For better or worse, relationships are easily formed and maintained on the interwebs. Using social media is meant to be a fun way to keep tabs on friends, share big moments, and spread ideas. Personal soapboxes and “I’m so pretty, look at me” albums are best avoided.
Full Quote: “Those social networks, there’s something sad about them. Is it because they don’t have enough knowledge about friends and people? I don’t understand it. It’s like a talkative mirror where people talk to themselves. And what I hate most in life is selfies.”
“I don’t like standard beauty. There is no beauty without strangeness.”
Beauty comes in all shapes, sizes, colors, textures, and numbers. If the king of fashion says strangeness is beautiful, then by all means, who are we to disagree? Embrace your beauty, your quirks, and your “blemishes”—it’s what makes you unique.
“I don’t care if people I admire criticize me because their opinion is valuable to me.”
We all have a role model, someone in our lives whom we look up to and admire. Assuming they are a positive influence, there is a lot we can learn by accepting criticism from these important figures. Constructive criticism is an opportunity to grow. Embrace it, learn from it, and make adjustments accordingly.
“I sleep seven hours. If I go to bed at two, I wake up at nine. If I go to bed at midnight, I wake up at seven. I don’t wake up before—the house can fall apart, but I sleep for seven hours.”
We live in a world of distractions. You lie down to go to bed and hear the ding of a Facebook notification, which leads to stalking your high school drama buddy, and then all of a sudden you’re in a black hole of Buzzfeed articles and it’s 3 a.m. Woof. Sleep is important, and most of us don’t get enough of it. Next time you hit the hay, turn off all electronics—phone, computer, and yes, your TV—and get some quality Z’s.
“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.”
From the Kaiser’s mouth to our wallets, er, ears. Fast-fashion companies like H&M, ASOS, and Zara have made trendy, quality clothes affordable. Shelling out $10K for a handbag is so last season (or, if you’re like us, that was never a thing). Whether you’re looking for some quality classics or the latest trend to come down the runways, looking good has never been so affordable.