Which is why we’re kind of in love with The World According to Karl, a new book comprised exclusively of Lagerfeld quotes, compiled by editors Patrick Mauriès and Jean-Christophe Napias. Featuring graphic illustrations by Charles Ameline, the book is broken down into themes–there’s fashion, of course, but also quotes about life and (naturally) Lagerfeld, himself.
We chatted with Napias about what inspired him to put together the book, getting approval from the Kaiser himself, and just how exactly he managed to cull down the thousands of quotes to fit into 176 pages.
What inspired you to want to put together a book of Karl’s quotes?
Actually, my wife Sandrine got the idea a few years ago after having watched Rodolphe Marconi’s documentary Lagerfeld Confidential. We kept this idea in a drawer until I met Patrick Mauriès, a writer and journalist I admired and whose first book (Second Manifeste Camp) I wanted to republish.
In this essay, written in 1979, Patrick Mauriès already talked about Karl Lagerfeld, who became a discreet donor to Le Promeneur, Patrick’s literary review. One day, I talked about this idea to Patrick by chance, who then asked Karl Lagerfeld…and that’s how everything really started.
How did you find his best quotes?
I have spent several months searching Karl Lagerfeld interviews, mostly in the French, American and British press. Chanel kindly gave me a lot of archives too. I watched everything I could on the Internet: interviews, films, TV shows, etc. As soon as something caught my attention, I selected it, avoiding quotes when Karl Lagerfeld could be a little provocative about people–that was not the point.
How difficult was it to narrow them down to the ones in the book?
As we had about a thousand of quotes, it was impossible to keep everything! We made a first selection and sorted Karl’s quotes by big themes, such as Life, Style, Fashion, Chanel, or Karl talking about himself. Then we made another selection to choose the best ones and avoid repetitions.
Which is your favorite quote in the book?
As we chose all the quotes, it’s of course very difficult to answer this question. [I would] emphasize those Charles Ameline, our graphic designer, has illustrated. He did a fantastic and clever job, which gives his style and rhythm to the book. To answer anyway, I would confess that my “favorites” are maybe those when Karl talks about his mother with respect, fun, and tenderness–like for example: “All my life, she would say to me, ‘You look like me, but much less nice.’”
But, I insist, all those quotes form a complex portrait, both public and intimate, of a secret man.
Why do you think so many people are captivated by Karl?
There are thousands of good reasons to be captivated by such a rich personality. Karl Lagerfeld is a great fashion designer, whose work is still impressive and always modern after many decades of creation. He has incredible looks and mastered extravaganza. His multilingual humor, his culture, and taste for books, his marketing gifts, his lasting energy and curiosity for the world around him are also remarkable.
Nobody can deny that he is fascinating and profound. He is not a mere fashion ghost, but a real artist and, as readers shall immediately notice, a keen observer of humankind and arts of all times. Aside from being a visual genius, Karl Lagerfeld has also philosophical insights and literary talent. This book pays a tribute to this multi-talented man.
The World According to Karl is available today; check out some images from the book below.