Fashion was not Karl Lagerfeld’s only forte. Spurred on by his insatiable curiosity, the designer remained active and engaged in society—both as observer and trendmaker, submerging himself in books and popular culture with the discipline of a high-level sportsman—strict diet, no alcohol.
“I think the worst thing in fashion — and that was very couture in the past in France — is the ivory tower. You know, that is like a cemetery, I’m very much against it,” he told WWD in 2013.
Asked where he found inspiration, he cast a broad net.
“Everything. I’m what people call a voyeur, I look at everything, remember everything, and can redo things my way. Because a bad idea of somebody else can give you a good idea….I’m like an antennae, you know, like a building with an antennae that captures everything, I want to know everything, I read every magazine, I want to be informed,” he said.
Karl Lagerfeld at his Paris Home, 1974.
Saint-Germain-des-Prés, on the Left Bank in Paris, was his stomping ground, where he lived surrounded by books — his library famously counted more than 300,000 volumes. In the late Nineties, Lagerfeld set up his own bookshop, called 7L, in the neighborhood, on Rue