Karl Lagerfeld is a horrid asshole. Let's not mince words, since he never does. In his latest round of published biting commentary, he opened fire on Pippa Middleton, saying, "I don't like [her] face. She should only show her back." The irony is that the fashion designer has only been showing his ass—metaphorically—in interviews for years. It's not a good look! It's unclear what motivates his seemingly compulsive need to make such declarative, personal, and hurtful statements aimed at females. But his history of doing so indicates that he obviously has a serious problem with women.
"She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face."
He's publicly gone after Newsweek editor Tina Brown after she ran a very balanced, well-researched piece about how he's overrated. He threw shade at Diane von Furstenberg. He needlessly attacked Heidi Klum, totally unprovoked, saying she was irrelevant in fashion and that her then-husband Seal had bad skin. He waged a 20-year public feud with his former muse model Ines de la Fressange.
But it's his broader, sweeping statements about women's bodies that is most troubling. He's taken issue with "ugly daughters," and he never shuts up about the fat thing. For someone who speaks often of the importance individuality, creativity and artistry, he really buys into the most boring and tired conventions of physical beauty when it comes to women, believing whole-heartedly in the-thinner-the-better. In 2009, he told Focus magazine:
"No one wants to see curvy women. You've got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying thin models are ugly. Fashion is about dreams and illusion."
Or maybe delusion. He doesn't think anorexia has anything to do with fashion.
In France there are a large percentage of young girls who are overweight and less than one percent are skinny. So let's talk about the 25 percent who have a weight problem, or are overweight. We don't need to discuss the less than one percent. Anorexia is nothing to do with fashion. These Russian girls are so young. Chinese ones are skinny, too, and bony. I don't think it's a subject to discuss. And in today's world, many people take drugs, not only models, hmm? It's an unnecessary subject. Let's talk about the fat ones.
It doesn't stop there.
"Florals are for middle-aged women with weight problems."
He told Harper's Bazaar once:
The body has to be impeccable. If it's not, buy small sizes and eat less food.
And his other advice for women? Well, there's this:
Dress for yourself and the man you love (if there is one). Women dressing to impress other women––forget about that. Forget about that. It's a very bad way of thinking.
He also thinks that Coco Chanel wasn't a feminist because she "wasn't ugly enough for that."
The thing is, it's easy for some of us to write off Lagerfeld's statements as the ramblings of a madman. Seriously, he is borderline psychotic. He stole his boyfriend's cat. He sent Dominique Strauss-Kahn flowers after he was accused of raping a woman. And perhaps most telling: He exclusively drinks Diet Coke—and nothing else. His brain is carbonated.
But unbelievably, so many people treat him as though he's some kind of prophet of the fashion industry, the arbiter of taste and beauty, the expert on women's bodies—when really he's just a fat kid in an old man's body.