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Obsessed with aesthetic perfection but also intensely creative, Karl Lagerfeld’s light continues to shine through his phenomenal productivity. Working right up until his body and mind allowed, here’s a look at the possessions and projects that brought his life joy and most importantly, meaning.
1. Master of Books
At a 2015 master class on fashion and photography, the multilingual maven said, “Today, I only collect books. I ended up with a library of 300,000." Impressive, even if one concedes that his library includes French, German and English tomes. For a glimpse into the fine art, photography, architecture, and cuisine that piqued his interest, his bookstore ‘7L’ in Paris is a great place to start.
2. Exquisite Automobiles
While the German born designer, photographer and film producer gave up driving at age 30 after reportedly wrecking a car or two, he remained drawn to cars for their beauty. And he picked two of the most gorgeous to represent his style: the Rolls Royce Phantom Drophead Coupe and a Maybach Landaulet.
3. Coked Up From AM To PM
No one loved Diet Coke more than Lagerfeld. He once quipped, “I drink Diet Coke from the minute I get up to the minute I go to bed. I can even drink it in the middle of the night and I can sleep. I don’t drink coffee, I don’t drink tea, I drink nothing else." It’s worth noting he once lost 41kgs in 13 months and published “The Karl Lagerfeld Diet" book, which prominently featured his favourite soda.
4. Fashion For The Masses
Famously fussy and sharp witted during the occasional interviews he suffered, Lagerfeld was not an elitist. Feigning ignorance regarding marketing precepts or good old entrepreneurial zip, he bucked industry decorum and collaborated with high street label H&M and sneaker brand, Vans. The former sold out within minutes and set the precedence that couture brands follow today.
5. A Plush Estate
Lagerfeld has lived on and off, in a country home in Hamburg’s distinguished Blankenese neighbourhood. Overlooking the River Elbe, its interior was embellished with gold leaf and sumptuous drapery. When asked why he did not spend more time there, he said, “You spend all your time looking out at the river. You ended up becoming lazy."
6. Labelfeld, Not Lagerfeld
He’s lent his talents to creating teddy-bears under luxury toy brand Steiff, a collectible make-up series with Shu Uemura, coloured pencils with Faber Castell and sports wear with Puma. But he’s also worked on a 20-story hotel in Macau, the lobby of a Miami residential complex, the swimming pool of the Hotel Metropole in Monte Carlo and two suites at the Hotel de Crillon, Paris. His self-avowed motto? “I am a living label. My name is Labelfeld, not Lagerfeld."
7. His Muses
Famed for forging creative partnerships with the season’s most beautiful women, he began with 1980’s Parisian style icon Ines de la Fressange. Invited to be a member of his creative inner circle, he has gone on to elect women like Linda Evangelista, Claudia Schiffer, Vanessa Paradis, Kate Moss and most recently, Cara Delevigne and Kendall Jenner. His muses weren’t mere mannequins but his personal brand ambassadors that carried his vision of style and grace.