Our colleagues at CNN International have provided us a transcript and video of Karl Lagerfeld’s exclusive talk to Felicia Taylor about the launch of his new diffusion fashion line at Macy’s, and fashion’s relevance to a more connected, and less afﬂuent, era.
CNN will feature more from Karl Lagerfeld during ‘The Fashion Season’, beginning Monday, September 26, on CNN International.
Felicia Taylor: What was it like when Macy’s ﬁrst approached you to do this diffusion line?
Karl Lagerfeld: I was surprised, and you know I had the experience. I was the ﬁrst to do H&M and I think it’s very interesting for a designer like me who does the very, very expensive and most reﬁned, so go to the other end and try to do as well as possible, because that’s fashion today. There are more people who buy T-shirts for $10 and dresses for $100 than for the other prices. But people, who can pay a lot, buy also inexpensive clothes because jeans and T-shirt with a couture jacket is something that’s part of life today.
As you’ve mentioned, I mean wearing Chanel or wearing Fendi, I mean this for a very mature sort of woman out there, the customer that’s right for this line, who is she?
It’s very pretentious and dangerous to give a description of them, because what I propose is supposed to please a huge amount of different kind of women—there is not one type anymore. This is, in fact, for everybody who wants to wear something I have designed. I think it’s ﬂattering in times when money is not so abundant people spend on something I designed. That ﬂatters me.
Is this a way to be relevant to a much wider audience?
I’m ﬂattered and surprised that those people who know my name wait in line to buy these things. For me that is the biggest compliment.
Well, what I can tell you is that the CEO of Macy’s told me that the ﬁrst three days that your line has been on the ﬂoor, it sold out better than anybody.
Made millions already.
There isn’t a better compliment.
No, there really isn’t.
So I’m very happy because I always expected the opposite. Not that I’m a pessimist person, but I may lack consideration for my own work and this is a very good and pleasant feeling to see that in fact I’m not that bad.
As an artist and a designer did you feel that you had to compromise in any way?
No, today, if you do the inexpensive, especially if you don’t have to do it for economic reasons that means it’s a challenge. I feel it’s a challenge and nothing else.
How has fashion changed?
The world changed and fashion changed with the world. You live in a world of the internet, you cannot compare the world to even 10 years ago with now, it’s so different and it will change all the time. People changed, the mind changed, the brain changed, everything so fashion has a different approach. Fashion is much more rounded than it used to be in the past, so it’s part of everybody’s life, even the people who are not concerned by it. You cannot escape fashion today because it’s all over the place.