Life Lessons From Karl Lagerfeld


I remember my first Chanel show. Minute for minute. Dress for dress.

I could not believe (and still don’t know) how somehow I was one of the lucky ones. One of the lucky few allowed to experience fashion in that manner.

To breathe it. To be swept away.

Fashion people often refer to runway shows as work. And technically it is. However it never felt like work for me.

Not once

Karl Lagerfeld died in Paris overnight. It’s a loss immeasurable in respect of what he had yet to do rather than what he achieved.

German but Parisian at heart, Mr Lagerfeld was as wise, as he was creative. 

Beyond the ponytail, the couture and the double C’s, here are the Top Six Life Lessons we can all learn from The Kaiser.

  1. don’t look in The Rear View Mirror.


"I have a sort of Alzheimer's for my own work, which I think is a very good thing. Today too many people remember what they did - just forget it all and start again." K.Lagerfeld

 Such wisdom. There truly is no sense in looking backward. It’s a truth I’m yet to master.

Energy wasted on reflection of either regret or achievement, is energy lost in pushing forward to the next goal or speed bump.

He added: “People who say that yesterday was better than today are ultimately devaluing their own existence.


2. More Can Sometimes Be More.


“The iPod is genius. I have 300”. K. Lagerfeld

Karl was the king of spectacle. The Chanel Ready To Wear shows were reimagined twice a year under the giant glass domes of the Grand Palais.

One model per look and a finale that filled the vast space with colour, tulle, tweed, quilted bags and double C everything.

Yet, somehow the way Lagerfeld executed his shows felt understated and perfectly, absolutely right.

So even though the definition of chic is restraint…when you find something you love (like iPods) then buy in multiples.

This is true of cashmere sweaters, perfect cotton t-shirts, workout leggings and Chanel jackets.

Shop The Classics.

3. Everyone Needs A Muse.


Mr Lagerfeld was brilliant at bringing his brands to life through the style of his muses.

They didn’t dress as he wanted but rather they took Chanel and twisted it.

He was as influenced by them as they were by him.

From the early days of Ines De La Fresange and Claudia Schiffer to Kaia Gerber and Lotti Moss, he found creativity and momentum in his muses.

Central to developing your own style is finding a muse.

He/she is defined by a character or person whose style you admire and would like to emulate. Everyone needs a retro and current day muse - it’s a good way to connect the dots between classics and trends.

Jackie Kennedy images will show you how to belt a trench coat exactly the right way and images of Kate Moss will show you how to make a trench work over a ball gown.

Find your muse and you will find your style.

4. Style Cannot Be Bought.


“Never use the word “cheap”. Today everybody can look chic in inexpensive clothes (the rich buy them too). There is good clothing design on every level today. You can be the chicest thing in the world in a T-shirt and jeans — it’s up to you.” ― K. Lagerfeld

True. True. True, true, true.

The most common mistake you can make when it comes to fashion is believing that a $5000 jacket will change your life.

It will change your bank balance.

It’s wonderful to have special clothes but true style comes from the ability to mix.

One woman’s handbag is another woman’s shoes - so find the thing you want to spend money on and supplement the rest of your wardrobe based on taste not labels.

5.Live For And In The Moment.


“One day it will be over and I don't care. As my mother used to say, 'There is one God for everybody and all the religions are shops”. K.Lagerfeld

“When people talk about the good old days, I say to people, 'It's not the days that are old, it's you that's old.' I hate the good old days. What is important is that today is good.” K.Lagerfeld

6. Style Is Effort Not Effortless.


“Sweatpants are a sign of defeat. You lost control of your life so you bought some sweatpants.” - K. Lagerfeld

This quote has always made me laugh. As much for its brutal blow as its wisdom.

Style can be learned, style is fun but style is not effortless. Style is commitment and effort.

You need to look in the mirror with a critical eye. You must know your body shape and what suits it best.

You must elevate your look by adding or subtracting.

You must not wear sweatpants.

As pants. The End.