Karl Lagerfeld makes inflammatory comments about fur and size 0 models

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Karl Lagerfeld is either very stupid, or was pressed into making these comments about the fur trade by an interviewer. They are so inflammatory, he would have to be insane to put these comments out there without anticipating some kind of backlash. Or maybe that is what he was hoping for.

German-born Lagerfeld, 75, a contemporary of the late Yves Saint Laurent, said that he did not himself wear fur. But he defended the practice, saying there was “an industry who lives from that”.

Hunters in the north “make a living having learnt nothing else than hunting”, he said, “killing those beasts who would kill us if they could.”

Animals should be killed “nicely” if at all possible, said Lagerfeld, who admitted to being queasy about eating meat.

“I can hardly eat meat because it has to look like something what it was not when it was alive,” he said.

He concluded: “In a meat-eating world, wearing leather for shoes and clothes and even handbags, the discussion of fur is childish.”

In an interview on the Radio 4 Today programme, Lagerfeld also said the issue of size zero models was insignificant compared to the “zillions” of fat people.

Doctors have criticised the use of size zero models, saying it has contributed to a rise in eating disorders among girls who feel pressured to conform to this idea of beauty.

But he said: “In France there are, I think, less than one per cent of people who are too skinny.

“There are nearly 30 per cent of young people who are too fat. So let’s take care of the zillions of the too fat before we talk about the percentage that’s left.”

Of course, PETA and eating disorder groups hit back soon after the interview was published:

A spokesman for the support group Beating Eating Disorders said Lagerfeld’s comments on size zero models were “a very sad reflection” on attitudes within the fashion industry.

She said: “We talk to thousands of people every year with eating disorders, who say ‘If we look like that, we are told that we should be in hospital.’ Yet these models are being celebrated.”

A spokesman for People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (Peta) described Lagerfeld as a “dinosaur” who had got his facts wrong.

She said: “Karl Lagerfeld is a fashion dinosaur who is as out of step as his furs are out of style.

“The vast majority of fur these days comes not from hunters as he suggests, but from Chinese fur farms, where no law protects the millions of animals who are routinely beaten and skinned alive.

“Lagerfeld’s childish refusal to acknowledge the needless suffering behind every piece of fur and listen to public opinion means that he is being overtaken in the style stakes by an increasing number of designers who believe that cruelty has no place in fashion.”

Daily Telegraph

Strangely enough, if Karl Lagerfeld had put his comments in a more sensible way, PETA might even agree with him. After all, people who don’t believe in hurting animals would probably agree that not just fur farms need to be targeted, but also the sources for leather and hides.

He is also correct in saying that obesity is an issue that needs to be targeted, but don’t make light of being underweight either. Both are serious medical issues, and many girls try so hard to meet the model image.

Karl Lagerfeld is shown on 11/24/08 at the Bambi Awards. Credit: WENN

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47 Responses to “Karl Lagerfeld makes inflammatory comments about fur and size 0 models”

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  1. kelly says:

    I think people need to to calm down about models and their weight – its their job! Some girls like Kate moss and me are born naturally skinny and I think I am healthy. The fast food people that drive everywhere are the ones who we should be targeting to change. The fur trade however I completely oppose of. The use of fur is cruel but again so is eating meat and we can’t just oppress one and not the other – whose to draw the line between wearing fur and eating flesh and what about the use of leather in furniture, and why aren’t people protesting the use of animals in everything?

  2. Anna says:

    God, just when I thought I couldn’t like Karl Lagerfeld less, he goes and says ignorant things like this.

    How stupid and shut-off from the real world does a man his age have to be in order to still be thinking all the furs in the world come from a tribe of hunters, up North (wherever he thinks that is) who hunt in a wildly romantic way? Seriously Karl, you need a serious beating with the clue stick.

    About his comments on fat people and skinny models: I think he despises fat people (he has made comments to that effect many times before) or even normal weight people with a bit of healthy curves here and there. He probably didn’t care about letting these comments get printed because in his mind, those potentially offended by these moronic and mean comments aren’t his clientele anyway.
    I think it’s dangerous to dismiss worries about super skinny models. Even if you don’t like anybody above a size 2, you should still be able to acknowledge that being too skinny can be just as damaging to one’s health as is being too fat.
    Again: he needs a big whack over the head with the clue stick and a flogging with the politeness flogger. Jerk.

  3. boomchakaboom says:

    He is batshit crazy. It must take a whole lotta hunters ‘up north’ to haul all the furs from those vicious minks, chinchillas, and foxes to market. I had no idea those critters would eat us if they could. I rather thought they would run.

  4. 88modesty88 says:

    Regardless of how loony this man is, he’s making valid points on obesity, I agree with Helen there. Too fat, too thin: both are very unhealthy!

    And being too fat or too thin can become a serious condition — leaving the sufferer feeling helpless in most cases.

    But did all of that sense have to be hidden in a torrent of silly remarks regarding the skin of animals that look better on them than on us?!

  5. Dorothy says:

    What is wrong with his face?? That is he should be talking about.

  6. maxi says:

    i guess we know where he got his vicious polar bear hair

  7. bros says:

    he has a point about the obesity epidemic though. thats a far more serious problem (and costly, and numerically he is on target in terms of their being a far greater proportion of seriously obese people than underweight/eating disordered) than size 0 models. body extremes is part of many professions, modeling included. we dont criticize olympic deadlifters for being too stocky and musclebound and rotund, nor do we criticize sumo wrestlers’ bodies, or marathon runners. just sayin size sero models are not as much of a problem as the problems caused by being obese.

  8. 88modesty88 says:

    bros, that might be true, but zero-size models potentially cause much more problems… when every young girl out there starts believing there’s only one standard of beauty.

  9. Codzilla says:

    Why do so many famous designers dress like fools? You’d think of all people, they could put a decent look together.

    Anyway, Karl, when you cure cancer, maybe I’ll care about what you have to say. Until then, you’re just another vapid douche with nothing substantial to offer.

  10. geronimo says:

    Ditto, Bros, obesity is a much bigger and costlier problem. Although this clown (Lagerfield) is obviously not a credible source of advice for anything other than designing, sewing and looking like an uber-rich, melted rubber-faced lunatic asylum-escapee.

  11. FF says:

    But that’s like saying let’s deal with the people who get the flu before we take chicken pox seriously.

    If you’re making yourself ill due to eating or not eating it shouldn’t matter if there are more people on one side than another – they’re all sick people who need help.

    That said, he doesn’t have to care – the people who buy his clothes aren’t going to.

    Also, the aspiration to mimick size zero models is often what messes up people’s eating patterns eventually making them fat. Whatever, it’s not that fashion people don’t get it, it’s that they don’t want to.

    (ps – every time I see him he looks like a strangler type serial killer. Ew.)

  12. mojoman says:

    “(Lagerfield) is obviously not a credible source of advice for anything other than designing, sewing and looking like an uber-rich, melted rubber-faced lunatic asylum-escapee…”
    Wow Geronimo, that definitely was a mouthful LOL! he looks like a dried up beef jerky..

  13. sparkle1 says:

    Yeah — he’s clearly batshit crazy, but I like him for it. He should not be taken seriously but his ignorance is the fun, campy kind that I can dig.

  14. Bellatrix says:

    Actually, Geronimo, I’m sorry but I must object what you said about Karl Lagerfeld (no ‘i’ by the way): he does NOT sew. Monsieur Karl designs but he dislikes sewing a lot. Since he’s been in command of big couture households, he hasn’t touched a needle. And I’m not vehiculating some rumour. I am only repeating his own words (and he has said it quite often).

    The fur industry Karl is referring to is without a doubt the luxury ranges which do not have the same killing (nor breeding) methods as the other fur industries.

    Also, Karl’s point about size zero models is that these girls are most often not as unhealthy or anorexic as we do believe. There are very thin ladies who outshine most women on earth and are yet in good health (think Natalia Vodianova for example). Lagerfeld also doesn’t approve of linking directly the runway models with anorexia. That’s a particular point of view which many people in the fashion industry stand by… There are many, many fuelled discussions about this and I’ll let you read some books written by psychiatrists and sociologists about this controversy.

    I believe Lagerfeld only wanted to point out that some relativism is needed nowadays: size zero models are a great subject that make journalists speculate and sell. But obese children and people aren’t a part of the universal glamour pattern so they are not much focused on although the percentage of people suffering from that endangering weight excess is much higher than the opposite (too skinny versus too fat).
    You shouldn’t forget that Karl has been obese for many years (just google him for some pictures of ten years back). When he lost his beloved Gianni Versace, it only got worse. Until a point where he couldn’t take it anymore. His words aren’t those of a blind person who isn’t aware of what they’re referring to. He has been a fat person and for quite some time…

    I love Karl for being witty and intelligent most of the time.
    Yes, he does cross lines and has a very particular way of seeing life (he’s against gay marriage for example -although he’s homosexual- because he believes gay people and their revolution of the sixties and the seventies should have led them to another life pattern instead of wanting to adopt the same conservative one of the people they fought against).
    Do, however, keep in mind that this is NOT the first time he has said such things. Karl has been very outspoken about size zero models before and, although I’m not entirely sure, also fur…

    Why this is making such a hoopla is beyond me. You should see an entire interview with the man: he is very smart, truly. But you’ll be shocked by some of the things he’ll say without caring at all about what others might think.

  15. vdantev says:

    He looks like a bad James Bond movie villain- Gayfinger.

  16. geronimo says:

    @Bellatrix – I was just being a bit facetious about the sewing thing – y’know, kind of ‘shut up and sew, Karl!’

    Generally, I like the guy, I have no problem with him having ‘provocative’ views but I just have no time for his ‘fur’ opinions. And I have no problems at all with his comments on obesity – as per my original comment. As someone who is naturally thin, I get extremely irritated by comments which suggest I’m in some way unhealthy (I’m not) or deliberately maintaining a particular weight.

  17. california angel says:

    The fashion industry literally drove one of my friends crazy and she has been unable to control her weight/drug use/ drinking ever since she went to France to become someone in the modeling world. Of course, some girls are born naturally thin, ( I would not say that this means they “outshine” other women, necessarily though), but a lot are encouraged to have horrible eating habits (edit) and imbibe in drug use to help their figures along. You can call me a liar all you want, but that doesn’t mean the problem still does not exist in the industry. One word, denial.

  18. bros says:

    well-put bellatrix. and 88modesty88, I would wager there are far fewer women and girls who have developed eating disorders as the result of the modeling industry ‘thin ideal’ than there are overweight and obese kids (not to even mention adults). although i dont want to minimize eating disorders, there are far less negative health effects as the result of being slightly underweight than there are being overwieght.

  19. Baholicious says:

    Gayfinger…LOL!!! Ka-POW.

  20. Baholicious says:

    @Bellatrix: Thanks for the info, I didn’t really know anything about him. Though I do disagree to a point with the models being “very thin ladies who outshine most women on earth.” There are a lot of very unattractive runway models. The only criteria really is that they be tall enough and thin enough to wear the clothes. They’re walking hangers, not some ideal of female beauty: people forget in a runway show, it’s the couture that’s on display, not the models who are essentially props for the clothing.

  21. Exiled2hp says:

    Wow… I thought Michael Jackson went in for more skin bleaching… blch!

  22. Exiled2hp says:

    @ Kelly… you may be naturally thin… from what I understand Kate Moss uses other more ‘illegal’ ways to stay that way.

  23. deka says:

    i completely agree with what he said about more people in the world being overweight.
    it’s a more expensive and more deadly health problem

  24. Christina says:

    haha this guy is funny… he looks like a waxed version of himself… why doesn’t he have his own show yet? :-p

  25. Bellatrix says:

    Geronimo: I was of course laughing about the sewing remark. It simply seems so funny that the holder of the world’s most famous couture house hasn’t done any sewing in decades.

    As for those who argued over something I said about some thin ladies outshining most women, I might have used the wrong words to express my thought:
    “There are very thin ladies who outshine most women on earth and are yet in good health (think Natalia Vodianova for example).”
    What I meant was that there are actually healthy runway models who, indeed, are human hangers (and it is not as easy as one would imagine!). They have made their way up because not only they had the perfect frame to wear those couture creations (can we really call them clothes for some?) but also because they aren’t sick looking, have great energy, beautiful body dynamism, etc.
    This certainly does NOT indicate that I would believe thin ladies to be aesthetically superior to the others. On the contrary! I’m merely pointing out that it certainly doesn’t suffice to be thin to become a model.
    Sorry if I hurt anyone by not taking the time to properly write out my thoughts in my previous post.

    And I completely agree with your point of view regarding what a runway show is, Baholicious. It is just another form of art and the models are merely necessary to keep up the art and give it flow, movement (Viktor&Rolf did a very interesting show with clothes that were actually hung on industrial displays which were put on the models: it does point out that what runway models truly “only” are… Here’s an outfit of their RTW Fall 2007 collection to help you imagine what it looked like: http://www.style.com/slideshows/fashionshows/F2007RTW/VIKROLF/RUNWAY/00070m.jpg).

  26. melonie says:

    It is nice to know that people who think this way are dying off or soon will be. Honestly, this man looks like a stuffed dead person!

  27. NotBlonde says:

    Lagerfeld is right: Overweight people are a major strain on many different sectors of society, the most impacted being health care. There are a lot of factors that go into someone being overweight, so I think our government should do more to get people to not want to sit on their asses and eat junk food. We should have standard portion sizes or something. I dunno.

    I can’t stand how the fashion industry thinks that only tall skinny women look good in their clothes. Not only tall skinny women will wear them. You’d think that they would put their clothes on a more average sized woman so that buyers can see how well the clothes fit on their customers. I understand for couture clothes but ready-to-wear should really be on the women who actually buy that stuff.

  28. Baholicious says:

    @NotBlonde: I can’t even afford pret-a-porter, so either way I could care less what body type they put the gladrags on. I like looking at the hair and make-up creations more than the clothes really. Oh, and the shoes!

    Thanks for the link Bellatrix.

  29. Sarah says:

    @ Codzilla: LOL! Second it totally!

  30. NotBlonde says:

    Gah…stupid double posting.

  31. NotBlonde says:

    LOL Baho: I can’t argue with you there. The shoes are the first thing I look at. The have some black patent leather librarian booties by Stuart Weitzman that were featured in a bunch of fashion shows last fall.

    I just think that there are certain designers i.e. Baby Phat and BCBG that quite a few normal people buy that would look fine on someone who looks like me for instance :P

  32. czarina says:

    I think what it comes down to is that Lagerfeld is 75 and really doesn’t care anymore who doesn’t like what he has to say or if PETA gets mad at him or if this or that organization rants and raves.

  33. Hel says:

    Karl seems to have forgotten that for the majority of his adult life he was obese! Just because he is skinny now, doesn’t mean he’s an expert on weight issues.

  34. Codzilla says:

    Just a quick aside: Is 00 really a size?

  35. Sha says:

    I totally disagree with the PETA rep for saying: “Karl Lagerfeld is a fashion dinosaur.” I think he’s more in line with being a Madame Toussau fixture.

  36. Mizzy says:

    I can’t take a single word this guy says seriously….he looks like a mirror image of Spike from the Gremlins!!

  37. Liquid Muse says:

    I cannot stand fashion designers. They think they’re first class divas! Karl needs to shut his pie hole and design something that ‘real people’ can afford. As for the size 0 and obesity comments, EFF HUGH, KARL!

  38. Kim says:

    He looks ummm… wrong. He always does.

  39. I noticed that this is not the first time you mention the topic. Why have you chosen it again?

  40. Sunny Fong says:

    He’s great. Thank god for Karl Lagerfeld.
    You’re all just jealous.

  41. shelby says:

    he lives in the fashion world..not the real world. Karl is in the wrong through his comments but he’s defending his practice of fashion, being a designer is living for your art and creating visionary pieces no matter the challenge or controversy. Karl is just being himself even though he has outdated values of women and animal rights.

  42. Delilah says:

    yea i could take him or leave him. sometimes i agree with him, sometimes he’s fuckin annoying. but in this case, i agree with him.