Canadian fashion players remember Karl Lagerfeld
The fashion world lost a legend this morning with the death of designer Karl Lagerfeld. Born in Hamburg and headquartered in Paris, Lagerfeld had a global impact on the world of style. We asked Canadian editors, TV personalities and influencers to share their favourite memories of the iconic designer.
JEANNE BEKER, FASHION TV PERSONALITY, EDITOR AND WRITER
“Karl was the very best part of that wondrous, incredible ride for so many of us. I remember the first time I met him. It was 1987 and I was waiting to interview him at his Paris couture studio when I was VERY pregnant, feeling like a bit of a beached whale in my drab, olive green maternity suit. His assistant, Gilles DuFour, suggested that I borrow something from the Chanel archives to wear for the interview. ‘No way you’ll find anything to fit me in this state!’ I laughed. But Gilles insisted in taking me to the back room to search. Voila! We found the perfect chic black-and-white, satin-and-crepe A-line dress. I put it on and it felt like a dream! When Karl finally arrived, he complimented me on the dress and we had a warm and amazing conversation. At the end of the interview, he said he wanted me to keep the dress — ’‘! It was music to my ears, of course … And that was my very first bona fide ‘designer’ dress. I have it still — one of my most prized possessions.
Over the years, interviewing Karl became the highlight of every Paris Fashion Week for me. I felt as though he was a kindred spirit, always looking forward, always a tad irreverent, always so passionate about everything he did. He used to comment on how much he appreciated my unbridled enthusiasm! Karl was a treasured mentor to me for all those years in those trenches, forever reminding me about why I fell in love with fashion in the first place.”
VIRGINIE VINCENS, PR DIRECTOR, PRESTILUX, AND FORMER DIRECTOR OF CANADIAN PR, CHANEL
“I do have a few memories of Karl, the most memorable was after a couture show, waiting for KL to be available for an interview with Jeanne Beker. As you know, couture shows were in the evening at the time (I think it was 2009 or 2010) and Jeanne and I waited until midnight, patiently sipping champagne in the Grand Palais until Karl was finally available. It was so worth the wait: He was incredibly generous in his time with Jeanne, and they casually sat in the show’s rows, with cushions on their laps, talking for about 30 minutes. Karl mentioned an anecdote about the cushions they both held on themselves: He said he always felt more secure on airplanes with a cushion on his lap. They both laughed. It was an incredibly touching moment, very representative of Karl’s dedication and generosity.”
BERNADETTE MORRA, FASHION WRITER AND FORMER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, “There is lots to admire Karl for, but for an interviewer he was a dream: articulate, brilliant, witty and self-deprecating with a delivery so rapid it was almost impossible to capture with pen and paper. And his stamina was remarkable. Up until recent years, he would stand for hours after a show holding court. One on one, he was more warm and relaxed. I got the sense that work consumed his life and he craved personal connections. He alluded to this when he once told me, ‘For the job I am doing, you have to be free 24 hours a day.’”
LISA TANT, FASHION PERSONALITY AND FORMER EDITOR-IN-CHIEF,
“I have been an avid follower of Karl Lagerfeld’s since my days as a fashion student. I had been to countless shows — Chanel, Fendi and his own collection — so I was awestruck when I finally interviewed him in 2005 for the opening of the Chanel exhibit at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. Fortunately I was only given five minutes notice (no time to freak out) and watched him eviscerate the celebrated journalist before me. ‘How do you keep your vision so youthful?’ she asked. ‘What a ridiculous question,’ he hissed and then turned to me. I knew that I had to make him laugh, so he chuckled when I asked him what he thought of his ‘new competitor’ Gwen Stefani’s new Lamb collection. ‘Fantastic,’ he chortled and gave my Lamb trench coat a thumbs up.
I chatted with Lagerfeld many times after — catching him early before his shows and once in his studio the night before a couture collection. I danced next to him as Brian Ferry performed under the stars at the Hotel du Cap-Eden-Roc in the South of France. I was always prepared; he was always six steps ahead and demanded smart thought-provoking questions. He made me a better interviewer — and he had an iconic impact on the fashion industry. Viciously funny and always outspoken, Lagerfeld was respected, feared and praised. I was always in awe — there will never be another creator like Karl.”
CAILLI AND SAM BECKERMAN, FASHION BLOGGERS @BECKERMANBLOG
“Karl meant so much to us! We miss him dearly and so does the fashion industry. Our favourite memory with him is when we were showing Karl our Pomeranian all dressed up as him, #KarlLagerwoof. Cubby had his white collar on, his iconic sunglasses, a white ponytail along with Chanel pins all [over] his jacket. Karl immediately took off his sunglasses — can u believe it! — and chuckled and said, ‘Now dat is cute!’ It was a really special moment we had. He had such a great sense of humour!”