Is Karl Lagerfeld a Sellout?

Is Karl Lagerfeld a Sellout?

Zina Tasreen
Karl Lagerfeld with his muse Baptiste Giabiconi (happens to be Katy Perry’s new squeeze!)

Karl Lagerfeld is a complete hack, and a sellout. There. I said it. It’s going to ring like a sacrilege to most, but at least I’ve weighty people like Robin Givhan and Azzedine Alaïa agreeing with me :-D

The hardest working man in fashion or just a hack?

Neither did he give any of the three houses he fronted any new direction, nor does he have a signature silhouette, aesthetic or sensibility that all great designers have, and for which they’ll forever be known. Christian Dior has his “New Look” silhouette, Yves Saint Laurent has his Le Smoking Jacket, Valentino has that tiered ruffle dress and his particular shade of red, Diane von Fürstenberg and her wrap dress, Jean Paul Gaultier and his conical busts and corsetry, Azzedine Alaïa has his clingy dresses, heck, even Roland Mouret has his Galaxy dress and so on, but Karl, what new stuff has he come up with? Tom Ford has revolutionised Gucci, Christopher Bailey has done the same with Burberry, Alber Elbaz with Lanvin, John Galliano’s given Dior his own stamp, Raf Simons with Jil Sander, same with Marc Jacobs at Louis Vuitton… I could think of so many names. All Lagerfeld has done at Chanel, since 1983, is riff through Mademoiseille’s archives and tweak things here-and-there. It’s the same story at Chloé and Fendi. When left to his own devices for his eponymous collections, he has flattered to deceive.

Designed Diet Coca-Cola bottles…
Designed ‘The Magnum Chocolate Suite’ in Paris, a life-size hotel suite room made out of 10.5 tons of chocolate in collaboration with Magnum ice cream. The bed, the rug, the lamp, absolutely everything has been made out of chocolates sourced from Rainforest Alliance Certified™ farms in Ghana and Equador. If you found Baptiste yummy, there’s an edible life-size Baptiste for you, holding a Magnum ice cream bar!
Collaborated with Sephora for a limited edition make-up range. Yep, that collection also had a Karl snow globe and Karl blow-up doll!
Left: A glassware line designed by Karl for the traditional Swedish glassmaker Orrefors Right: Designed label for the 2009 vintage Château Rauzan-Ségla bottle
Designed a teddy bear in his likeness for Steiff, the high-end German toy company
Designed a helmet for Les Ateliers Ruby, the luxury mobility accessories brand

Then there are his pointless and bizarre side projects. I’ve lost count of them. Just when I thought it wasn’t possible to spread himself any thinner, along came news of this collab…

AgustaWestland AW139 helicopter (Photo courtesy| Mike de Bruijn)

…with AgustaWestland, an Anglo-Italian helicopter manufacturer, to design both the interiors and exteriors of their VIP choppers. Yep, you read it right. Those small-ish wing-less flying vessels. To think collabs couldn’t get any stranger than Jean Paul Gaultier’s with Dillon Gage. Karl’s “creativity and sophisticated style” would allow the Finmeccanica-owned company to “introduce a new, limited edition, customized solution” for its growing customer base. For now he’ll revamp the AW139 model, twin-turbine helicopters that can transport up to 15 people and plenty of luggage at “very high speed”. If the venture turns out to be beneficial for AgustaWestland, the partnership would be extended to other commercial models as well.

Which one, which one, you reckon?
Could it be…? (Photo courtesy|

What do you think will be splattered across the choppers: the ‘K’ logo of his eponymous line or his own patented silhouette?