“I don’t like skinny people. I think it’s very démodé.” -Karl Lagerfeld, 1977.
“Muscles are out. Bones are in.” -Karl Lagerfeld, 2002, after shedding 90 pounds.
Busted! Karl Lagerfeld’s dramatic weight loss has been a hot topic in the world of fashion for almost a year, which doesn’t say much about Le Mode’s ability to generate hot topics. Nonetheless, the riveting-ish details of the Chanel designer’s cornbread ‘n’ veggie diet-not to mention his subsequent penchant for high-waisted women’s jeans-continue to clog the fashion press.
Imaginemy glee when, having just watched K.L.yetagain discussinghis weight loss, this time on a repeat of LarryKing Live , I happened upon his earlier, fat-positive declarations.
Ispotted them whileleafing throughafavoritecoffee-table book entitled Scavullo onMen (Random House, 1977-an Amazon bargain at $2.90). My eye happened upon a gorgeously dissolute, fin de siècle – looking Herr Lagerfeld. In the adjacent interview, the design great derides skinny people as “a nightmare of the high-fashion model of the late fifties and early sixties.”
As I reeled from K.L.’s outrageous inconsistencies, I began to search for deeper meanings therein.
Admittedly, it is a lady’s prerogative to change her mind and, in defense of the fan-jiggling couturier , it must be acknowledged that what passes for an ideal silhouette changes radically from epoch to epoch. One decade’s zaftig wench is another’s gasp-inducing blimp.
But fashion history aside, there’s a fabulously life-enhancinglessoninhis about-face. Whether thin orfat,confidentMr. Lagerfeld has always remained his own most loyal proponent. His girth may have fluctuated, but his belief in the essential correctness of Karl never does. When he’s chubby, flesh is de rigueur ; when he’s thin, bones are in. Rather than be assailed for his fickleness, he’s to be applauded for his über alles self-confidence.
You, for one, could certainly stand to learn a thing or two from Kaiser Karl. Instead of whining about your shortcomings and limitations, why not-à la Lagerfeld-offer them up as the ideals to which all others should aspire? Instead of apologizing for those gigantic, Blahnik-busting feet of yours, why not extol the elegance of an elongated, gondola-sized appendage? While you’re at it, don’t forget to roundly condemn the smaller foot as being cheap and common.
Thinning hair? Exalt in the haunting wispiness of your ethereal tresses. Turkey neck? Unlifted faces are aristocratic. Jowly? So was Winston Churchill. With your new I’m-always-right commitment to yourself, those pudgy little hands can, without effort, become dainty flowers. Do as Karl does: believe in the supremacy of you !
The next step is cowing people into meekly accepting your dictates. Taking Karl’s lead again, you can accomplish this by adopting a wildly emphatic tone. Asked by Larry King if his new dietetic regime caused him to long for French sauces, Karl replied, “No. No. No. No. No. They are really the dangerous thing in life.” In addition to his diet, Karl feels that the only way to motivate yourself to lose weight is by tossing out all the clothes from your closet that are larger than your desired size, “because nothing is more unpleasant than if a pair of pants was a little tight in the waistline.”
Don’t be intimidated by Karl’s disciplined metamorphosis. Transformationàla Lagerfeld is an exciting, underused privilege to which we all have access. And transforming yourselfcanbe aboutsomuch more than strugglingtolose weight. It can even be fun.
Considerthe following:The wearing of summery frocks in winter-a popular fad with 1950’s beatniks-is a transformational style statement that’s guaranteed to give cautious conformists like yourself the appearance of reckless, unhinged rule-breakers. So rat your hair, throw on a sleeveless white ruffled-cotton sundress-andtransform yourself into a Puerto Rican good-girl-going-bad circa 1961. Screaming Mimi’sonLafayetteStreethassomegreatNatalie Wood–in– West Side Story Maria dresses, from $58 to $78. Finish the look off with the Perfect lash curler ($15) and a heapin’ helpin’ of Dramatico mascara ($21) from Francesca Guerrera, exclusively at Barneys.
Freezing to death is not such a big deal anyway, at least not according to Karl Lagerfeld. “Death is nothing. I mean, death is the price of life,” he ranted back in 1977. “Millions have passed through life before us and millions will die after. It’s not that important.”