Today (tomorrow, by the time you read this), I am sad. I never had the pleasure of meeting Karl Lagerfeld. I never had the privilege of working with him. I never had the good fortune of spending time with him. And yet, today I am mourning his passing, and I know I am not alone.
Scrolling through Instagram and the news, I am reminded of everything I associate with his larger than life persona. Luxury. Democracy. European style. Irreverence. “Unf***ablewith-ness.” Handsomeness. Ponytails. Sunglasses. Cats. Black and white.
One day, I promised myself, I would own a Chanel jacket that he designed. When I was “a proper successful adult.” I’m still working on that.
Before then, I would go to H&M to purchase one of his limited-edition designs. I got there too late, too many times, everything was always sold out. I loved how mad he got with H&M for not releasing enough of these designs: “They did not make the clothes in sufficient quantities. I find it embarrassing that H&M let down so many people… I don’t think that is very kind … It is snobbery created by anti-snobbery.”
One day, I wished to be so cool I would wear big black sunglasses even when it was grey or dark outside, because they would protect me. The only Chanel item I own is a pair of big black sunglasses – I will wear them tomorrow even though snow is coming to DC.
Today, along with so many, I am reminded of his wisdom which have been ever-present in my head – for so many years.
“If you are cheap, nothing helps.”
“I am very much down to earth. Just not this earth.”
“I take myself with me everywhere.”
“Don’t sacrifice yourself too much, because if you sacrifice too much there’s nothing else you can give, and nobody will care for you.”
“I’m a working-class person, working with class.”
“I get inspired when I’m working, it’s my engine.”
“It’s up to you to make every day as perfect as possible – it’s a question of will and discipline.”
“Why should I stop working? If I do, I’ll die, and it’ll all be finished.”
“My thing is to work more than the others to show them how useless they are.”
“Don’t look to the approval of others for your mental stability.”
“Change is the healthiest way to survive.”
“I like to reinvent myself. It’s part of my job.”
“Books are a hard-bound drug with no danger of an overdose. I am the happy victim of books.”
“Youthfulness is about how you live, not when you were born.”
“Beauty with character ages better than perfection.”
“Vanity is the healthiest thing in life.”
“One is never over-dressed or underdressed with a Little Black Dress.”
“Sunglasses are like eyeshadow: They make everything look younger and pretty.”
“Trendy is the last stage before tacky.”
“Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life, so you bought some sweatpants.”
And just for fun because these make me giggle in the most politically incorrect way:
“Yes, some people say to me ‘You’re too skinny,’ but never a skinny person says that to me.”
“Having adult children makes you look 100 years old. I don’t want that.”
“Anyone who is not at least trilingual is a hick.” (Note to self: I’m a hick.)
RIP Karl Lagerfeld.