The Best Karl Lagerfeld Quotes

by HULA , February 22, 2019

Tuesday 19 February, 2019 saw the passing of a fashion legend, Karl Lagerfeld. Born in 1933 in Germany, he has expressed an interest in design and fashion since an early age. As a child he often cut out pictures from fashion magazines, but it wasn’t until his teen years, after his family had returned to Hamburg, that Lagerfeld immersed himself in the world of high fashion. Striking out on his own in 1961 after apprenticing with Pierre Balmain, he eventually joined Chanel in 1983, bringing what was perceived to be a near-dead brand back to life with a successful ready-to-wear fashion line, and since then he has been at the helm of Chanel till this past Tuesday.

Karl Lagerfeld was undoubtedly one of the most celebrated designers of our time. He was also known to give some of the funniest, thought provoking and controversial quotes in fashion. Remembering the man also happens through remembering his words for as he said, “I am like a caricature of myself, and I like that.”  To commemorate his passing, we put together his most iconic quotes:


2012 – On his distaste for tattoos:
“I think tattoos are horrible. It’s like living in a Pucci dress full-time. If you’re young and tight, maybe it’s OK, but…”


2015 – On selfies:
“I don’t do selfies. But other people do, and they all want to do selfies with me. No, no, no. Thank God, Sébastien, my assistant, he’s mean to the people in the street, mean and rude. I’m a nice person.”

2009 – On his designs:
“Improvise. Become more creative. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Evolution is the secret for the next step.”

1975 – On his magical capabilities:
“I am a sort of vampire, taking the blood of other people.”

1978 – On his early start:
“When I was four I asked my mother for a valet for my birthday.”

2004 – On weight loss:
“I lost 200lb to wear suits by Hedi Slimane.”

2011 – On hard work:
“Please don’t say I work hard. Nobody is forced to do this job and if they don’t like it, they should do another one. If it’s too much, do something else. But don’t start doing it and then say, ‘Aaaah, it’s too much’. Because a lot of people depend on it. What we do at Chanel, thousands of people work on these things; these things are sold in hundreds and hundreds of shops all over the world. People like the big machine, and the money the big machine involves, but the effort… Then, suddenly, they become artists. They are too weak. Too fragile. Non. We have to be tough. We cannot talk about our suffering. People buy dresses to be happy, not to hear about somebody who suffered over a piece of taffeta. Me, I like to make an effort. I like nothing better than concrete reality. I’m a very down-to-earth person, but it is my job to make that earth more pleasant.”


2010 – On his childhood: 

“I was very much like a grown-up. I have photos of me as a child wearing a tie, and it’s the same as I am today.”

2010 – On interview etiquette:

“I had an interview once with some German journalist – some horrible ugly woman. It was in the early days after the communists – maybe a week after – and she wore a yellow sweater that was kind of see-through. She had huge tits and a huge black bra, and she said to me: ‘It’s impolite; remove your glasses.’ I said: ‘Do I ask you to remove your bra?'”

2013 – On sweatpants: 

“Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants.”

2010 – On intellectual conversation: 

“That’s exactly what I am. As a child I wanted to be a grown-up. I wanted to know everything – not that I like to talk about it. I hate intellectual conversation with intellectuals because I only care about my opinion.”

2013 – On his legacy:
“I’ve always known that I was made to live this way, that I would be this sort of legend.”

2011 – On his diet:
“I only like what I’m allowed to like. I’m beyond temptation. There is no weakness. When I see tons of food in the studio, for us and for everybody, for me it’s as if this stuff was made out of plastic. The idea doesn’t even enter my mind that a human being could put that into their mouth. I’m like the animals in the forest. They don’t touch what they cannot eat.”


2010 – On fame:
“You cannot fight against it. There’s a price you have to pay for fame, and people who don’t want to pay that price can get in trouble. I accepted the idea of celebrity because of a French expression: ‘You cannot have the butter and the money for the butter.'”

2013 – On Chanel:
“What I’ve done, Coco Chanel would never have done. She would have hated it.”

2009 – On colour:
“Black, like white, is the best colour. They both look great with added colour touches like red.”

2012 – On retirement and work:
“Why should I stop working? If I do, I’ll die and it’ll all be finished. I’m lucky to work in the most perfect of conditions. I can do what I want in all kinds of areas. The expenses are not expenses. I would be stupid to stop that. Work is making a living out of being bored.”

2009 – On his bedtime routine:
“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.”

2010 – On sunglasses:
“They’re my burka… I’m a little shortsighted, and people, when they’re shortsighted, they remove their glasses and then they look like cute little dogs who want to be adopted.”