Karl Lagerfeld quotes

Karl Lagerfeld at Cannes. Photo by Georges Biard.

Karl Lagerfeld quotes. Lagerfeld (1933 - ) is a German fashion designer, well-known for his original, and sometimes puzzling, statements. A few dozen are reprinted below.


Sunglasses are like eyeshadow. They make everything look younger and prettier.

[The secret to modeling is] not being perfect. What one needs is a face that people can identify in a second. That’s why the girls who were famous in the '90s can still work for advertising. People know their faces. The little blonde Russian, Sasha [Pivovarova], has a face people can remember instantly, but for other models today, people think, "Is she this one or that one?" It's very difficult, but, you see, in fact there is no advice, because all circumstances are very different. It depends on what you are ready to give, the kind of life you bring, what may be exciting or disappointing...You can’t accuse anyone of not doing enough to help you, because, besides yourself, there’s nothing anyone can do. You have to be given what’s needed by nature, and what’s needed is to bring something new. But it’s the most––[hits hand on table]––unjust––[hits hand on table] thing in the world.

Life is not a beauty contest, some [ugly people] are great. What I hate is nasty, ugly people...the worst is ugly, short men. Women can be short, but for men it is impossible. It is something that they will not forgive in life...they are mean and they want to kill you.


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"


Only the minute and the future are interesting in fashion––it exists to be destroyed. If everybody did everything with respect, you'd go nowhere.

Black, like white, is the best color!

Guilty feelings about clothes are totally unnecessary. A lot of people earn their living by making clothes, so you should never feel bad.

Like poetry, fashion does not state anything. It merely suggests.

Chanel is an institution, and you have to treat an institution like a whore.

Fashion does not have to prove that it is serious. It is the proof that intelligent frivolity can be something creative and positive.

He is very middle-of-the-road French––very pied-noir, very provincial
––on Yves Saint Laurent

I’m a kind of fashion nymphomaniac who never gets an orgasm.

It looks like the huge hairdos from the 1960s, which everyone thinks are pretty ugly. So the helmet is like a huge amount of hair, made of fur. And it’s for your music, because there’s a holder inset for your iPod and room for earphones, too. The helmet works with the technology that is useful in daily life.
––on one of his own hats

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?"


It is farmers who are nice to the cows and the pigs and then kill them. It's even more hypocritical than hunters. At least the hunters don't flatter the animals....I don't like that people butcher animals, but I don't like them to butcher humans either, which is apparently very popular in the world.


I avoid thinking. I want to have an easy life without problems.

When people talk about the good old days, I say to people, "It's not the days that are old, it's you that's old." I hate the good old days. What is important is that today is good.

Better a split personality than no personality at all.

I never smoked. I never drank and I never took drugs. The funny thing is, nothing is more boring, people like this. For me, it's OK. But most of my friends, at least they smoke and drink.

If you throw money out of the window throw it out with joy. Don't say 'one shouldn’t do that'––that is bourgeois.

You will have to wait for my memoirs to be published before you find out my true age.

Don't look to the approval of others for your mental stability.

If I were interested in children, I would be a godfather––or a godmother. I don’t like the idea of taking people out of their lives and their contexts. If there were a child I wanted to adopt, I would try to find the family of the child and give them the money for an education in his life and his context.

From an interview of Lagerfeld, by Tom Ford:

Tom Ford: Are you happy?

Karl Lagerfeld: Darling, I'm not ambitious.

Other People

I shouldn't say this, but physically he was quite repulsive.
––on Andy Warhol

She was one of the ten supermodels...She has a great education and speaks many languages. She's perfect for the job of first lady. I even photographed her naked...but they were elegant and she had nothing against it. She couldn't care less. She's very cool like that. The photo is beautiful. I can show you the nude of her. I did it for Visionaire in 1998. Everybody knows how a man or a girl is built, and everybody goes to the beach. So where's the problem?
––on shooting Carla Bruni, now first lady of France, in the nude

He is very middle-of-the-road French––very pied-noir, very provincial
––on Yves Saint Laurent


Chic is a kind of mayonnaise, either it tastes, or it doesn't.

Personality begins where comparison ends.

To reinvent a newly impeccable you in the most modern of outfits, don’t skip on makeup and be sure to have flawless skin and hair. That will have more impact than expensive clothes.

I don’t want to do anything over again, ever again. I want only to do what I haven’t done. There’s no "again." There’s only the future. I hate the past—especially my own past.

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.

Yes, some people say to me you're too skinny, but never a skinny person says that to me, only people who could lose a few pounds say that.

No one wants to see curvy women. You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.

What I hate most in life are people who are not really the peach of the day but who want to be young and sexy. You can fool nobody. There is a moment when you have to accept that somebody else is younger and fresher and hotter. Life is not a beauty contest.

Bling is over. Red carpetry covered with rhinestones is out. I call it the new modesty.
––on the recession

Dress for yourself and the man you love (if there is one). Women dressing to impress other women––forget about that. Forget about that. It’s a very bad way of thinking.

A respectable appearance is sufficient to make people more interested in your soul.

Vanity is the healthiest thing in life.

Et Cetera

The reason American cars don't sell anymore is that they have forgotten how to design the American Dream. What does it matter if you buy a car today or six months from now, because cars are not beautiful. That's why the American auto industry is in trouble: no design, no desire.

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.
––on cell phones

I hate intellectual conversation with intellectuals because I only care about my opinion.

Frustration is the mother of crime, and so there would be much more crime without prostitutes and without porn movies.

They grow so fast, and having adult children makes you look 100 years old. I don’t want that.
––on why he has no children

I'm rather pro-prostitution. I admire people who do it. It can't be much fun. Thank goodness for it. People need relief or they become murderers.

Forgiveness is too easy. I can forget by indifference, but not forgive. I prefer revenge.


The most important piece in the house is the garbage can.

I am a sort of vampire, taking the blood of other people

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.

[Sunglasses are] 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.

I have no human feelings.

I love the smell of building sites.

If you see it you will think about everything except sex, because it is the unsexiest room ever. I love unsexy bedrooms
––on his own bedroom

I live in a set, with the curtains of the stage closed with no audience––but who cares?

The iPod is genius. I have 300

Related Reading:

Vivienne Westwood quotes

Tom Ford quotes

Lady Gaga - A Dissenting Opinion

Summer Dresses

Lindsay Lohan...Style Icon?

Photo of Karl Lagerfeld by Georges Biard.

Karl Lagerfeld quotes appears as part of our quotes section.

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