remembering karl

Karl Lagerfeld’s Most Memorable Quotes

Photo: Stephane Cardinale - Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images

On Tuesday morning, the fashion industry reacted to the death of Karl Lagerfeld, Chanel’s longtime artistic director, by sharing photos, memories, and memorable quotes.

Lagerfeld was one of the most powerful, influential, inimitable figures in the business, as well as one of the most unfiltered. His sentiments on everything — from sweatpants to social media to spending money — are as signature to him as as his uniform of black sunglasses and fingerless gloves.

There were numerous instances in which Lagerfeld’s words were hurtful, or considered offensive. Not only did he criticize his peers, celebrities, and royals alike, but he also spoke negatively about the #MeToo movement, and made controversial remarks on body image, immigration policy, and other politically charged topics.

Lagerfeld certainly aimed to provoke as much as inspire. Below, some of his most memorable quotes on fashion, life, and luxury.

On his goals:
“I was 6 years old. I was sitting on my mother’s desk in the country estate, in the big house — on her desk, where I was not supposed to sit and sketch — and I said to myself: You will become very famous.” —New York Magazine

On his childhood:
“When I was four I asked my mother for a valet for my birthday.”— The Beautiful Fall

On how he feels after a fashion show:
“I’m a kind of fashion nymphomaniac who never gets an orgasm.”—1984

On the industry:
“Is there something healthier than competition? If not, you fall asleep and think success, and what you did, is granted. Nothing is granted in fashion, and this is what I love about fashion.” —WWD

“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.”—The World According to Karl

On his iconic 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.”—2010

On living alone:
“I live in a set, with the curtains of the stage closed with no audience - but who cares?”—1997

On friendships:
“I get along with everyone except for men my age, who are bourgeois or retired or boring, and cannot follow the evolution of time and mood.”— New York Magazine

On interior design:
“I love unsexy bedrooms.”— The Beautiful Fall

“The most important piece in the house is the garbage can.”—2007

On improving yourself:
“Improvise. Become more creative. Not because you have to, but because you want to. Evolution is the secret for the next step.” —Harper’s Bazaar

On style:
“Don’t drink when you wear stilettos.” —Harper’s Bazaar

“Dress for yourself and the man you love (if there is one). Women dressing to impress other women — forget about that.” —Harper’s Bazaar

On tattoos:
“I think tattoos are horrible. It’s like living in a Pucci dress full-time.” —2012

On image:
“Vanity is the healthiest thing in life.”— 2006

“I hate ugly people. They are very depressing.”- New York Times

“Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.”—The World According to Karl

“Trendy is the last stage before tacky.”—Harper’s Bazaar

“My only ambition in life is to wear size 28 jeans.”— New York Magazine

On fur:
“The problem with fur … For me, as long as people eat meat and wear leather, I don’t get the message.” —New York Times

On social media:
“Personally, I have no time. I don’t do internet, I don’t do Facebook. I have to sketch, I have to play with Choupette, I have to sleep. The day is too short for that.” —New York Magazine

On technology:
“The iPod is genius. I have 300.”—2006

On himself:
“I am very much down to Earth. Just not this Earth.” —The World According to Karl

“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.” —The World According to Karl

On retirement:
“Why should I stop working? If I do, I’ll die and it’ll all be finished.—2012

On death:
“I do not like funerals, and I do not want anyone to come to mine. Do what you want with the ashes. Send them down the garbage chute.” —New York Magazine

Karl Lagerfeld’s Most Memorable Quotes