He may be the most quoted man in fashion, but that doesn't mean Karl Lagerfeld feels inclined to write a book any time soon. "No memoirs," the Kaiser stated at Tuesday's WWD CEO Summit at New York's Plaza Hotel. "I have nothing to say."
While that may be true, at least as far as the written word goes anyway, the legendary designer certainly had plenty to say on stage. From revealing the surprising locale of his next show (Dallas) to explaining how it feels to be marking his 30th anniversary at Chanel ("Some people say I'm a hired gun. Well, I'm very happy to be one."), Lagerfeld kept the bon mots coming and the assembled crowd — which included Anna Wintour, Carine Roitfeld, and Sarah Jessica Parker — hanging on his every word. Below, a few gems:
On career longevity: "Fashion is for people to wear and that has not changed."
On inspiration: "When I like something, I don't ask myself why. I just like it."
On couture today: "There are so many new worlds, and so much new money. We have more couture clients now than we did 20 years ago. Many of the rich people of the past are poor compared to the rich people of today, I'm sorry."
On his childhood ambitions: "I didn't even know one could make a business out of fashion. Back then it was called clothes."
On designers who complain about the workload: "You accept a job, you know the conditions. Don't play the victim."
On what irritates him most: "People who create complications in order to appear more professional."
On Paris in the '80s: "The '80s were very difficult. I prefer to forget about them."
On career setbacks: "Sometimes you go two steps back but that's a healthy thing. No one has a one-line career."
On his look: "You may think it's very distinct but to me it is normal."
On the potential of a retrospective: "I would never make a retrospective. I look forward, ahead, ahead. I don't keep any kind of archive even."
On his three steps to success: "What? Steps? Oh, there's a whole staircase."