In the new issue of Interview, which is “The Fashion Issue”, our favorite grumpy old bastard Karl Lagerfeld interviews Carine Roitfeld, the former editor-in-chief of Vogue France and one of the leading style-makers of the past two decades. I never realized that Karl and Carine are tight, but they are. They’re also hilarious together, unintentionally so. Like, Karl will say something and Carine will contradict part of it, and Karl will come back at her with something even crazier and then Carine just changes the subject. It’s a great dynamic. I can’t even begin to excerpt all of the wonderful hilarity that ensues throughout this five-page opus of CRAZY, so you should totally read the whole thing here. Here are some of my favorite parts:
Lagerfeld on how Helmut Newton was a fast worker: “He never tried too hard, right? The Germans have a saying, ‘Things are spicier if they’re short.’”
On Roitfeld’s work as a stylist, and photographing nudes:
LAGERFELD: You don’t fall into the trap that a lot of stylists have fallen into of doing everything. You think about the woman first. You let the woman come out.
ROITFELD: Clothing is always a tool that helps me take a picture. But it’s never about the clothing.
LAGERFELD: Although for a stylist, doing a nude is even more difficult.
ROITFELD: Mario [Testino] did a lot of nudes. Every morning when we worked together, he had boys coming over and he would take naked pictures of them. I learned a lot because there’s no artifice and it’s all a question of position, of looks, of attitude, the way to position your legs, position your knees . . . It gives you something.
LAGERFELD: There’s a big difference between photographing naked boys and naked girls.
ROITFELD: I was too shy, at first, to come close to these naked guys. I would stand a little ways away from them. With girls it’s much easier.
LAGERFELD: I think it’s easier because naked men are more awkward.
ROITFELD: Yes and then there is always a bit of seduction to it when one person is clothed and the other is naked, which can be a little weird. Everybody should be naked. In that case, it would be easier, wouldn’t it? Let’s do a huge naked photo shoot!
Lagerfeld on Carine’s time at French Vogue: “I think freedom is your biggest luxury. You were literally jailed before… I think you’re more like a bird that can’t be put in a cage. I don’t want to compare myself to you, but it’s like at Chanel, I can do what I want, when I want, where I want. And that’s because I am worth more when I’m free. I think it’s the same thing for you.”
They talk about being Virgos, and having children – Carine has two kids:
LAGERFELD: What I think is particularly accomplished with you is that you always have a vision of fashion and a fashionable woman, but you also have a very successful life as a family woman. You have beautiful, intelligent children and they give you stability and credibility in the eyes of others.
ROITFELD: It’s because I’m a Virgo. Either you are a good Virgo or a crazy Virgo! The good Virgo side of me is educating and raising the children—being there for them.
LAGERFELD: Yes, no one can say that you don’t take care of them. You’re also lucky because they are very beautiful. It would have been difficult to have an ugly daughter.
ROITFELD: A moment ago, you said some flaws are necessary in beauty. They do have a temper sometimes. But they are very good children.
LAGERFELD: The care you take in your children gives a balance to your life. I think it accentuates your talent.
ROITFELD: Well, otherwise you’re too far removed from reality. You’re in your car, you’re in your jet—you don’t have a grip on reality. We can lose touch with reality quite easily.
LAGERFELD: I know some stylists who are like that and it’s sad. If I were a woman, I would love to have lots of kids. But for men, I don’t believe in it.
More on how awesome and crazy it is to be a Virgo:
LAGERFELD: I think you are quite modest.
ROITFELD: People might think I’m very hard, what with my black makeup, my hair over my eyes, etc. My innocence didn’t always help me, but it did preserve something in me that maybe others don’t have anymore. I’m inside my bubble, you could say, and thankfully so, because I don’t think daily life is always great. It protects me. I don’t know if it’s my sign, but Virgos are very faithful. I’m a faithful friend. I’m a faithful lover—
LAGERFELD: I can tell you are, indeed, being a Virgo myself.
ROITFELD: We’re a faithful lot. Faithful in many ways.
LAGERFELD: Some people don’t deserve our faithfulness.
ROITFELD: Some don’t, but once we learn that, I can tell you that we also have a very good memory. I have a memory like an elephant. I don’t forget anything.
LAGERFELD: Me neither.
ROITFELD: And revenge! I forget nothing and then, one day, there will be revenge. Innocence isn’t exactly everywhere. But I will say innocence also takes you far in photography. I don’t have prejudices. I’m against taboos. But of course there are some things I’ll never touch—because as a mom, there are things one doesn’t want their children to be around. I think it’s very important what young people see in pictures or on TV or in magazines. Drugs, violence, anorexia . . . All of the things that I absolutely do not reference in my photos.
Lagerfeld on his mother: “I wasn’t allowed to hold my mother’s arm to cross the street. You know why? Because I squeezed her hard and it bruised her arm.”
On the internet and technology:
LAGERFELD: Do you surf the internet?
LAGERFELD: Me neither. Never. Besides, I don’t even want to have things associated with my name on the internet—it’s very dangerous.
ROITFELD: Is there a fake Karl Lagerfeld Twitter account?
ROITFELD: There’s one for me, too. Everything is fake.
LAGERFELD: I am not a fake . . . I hope.
ROITFELD: I don’t have a Facebook account.
LAGERFELD: I know enough people. We’re happy with the people we know, right? That’s enough for us.
ROITFELD: It’s insane. The internet is becoming more interesting, though. I think the quality of the image on iPads now is extraordinary. What if tomorrow I had to create a magazine? What I hope I would do is something new, but I still love print. I love to touch paper. I’m not sure if I will ever do a magazine again, but I have plenty of ideas on the subject.
Lagerfeld on ivory towers: “The worst thing in the world is to create an ivory tower. Yes, it’s very bad. It’s sterile. I can’t even go in the street anymore. That bothers me.”
[From Interview Magazine]
The piece is full of all of these crazy gems, and it’s like two insane people looking at each other and acknowledging that they don’t really speak the same made-up language. And OF COURSE they’re both Virgos. I swear, celebrity Virgos give the rest of us a bad name. I’m a Virgo, and I’m not even half as crazy as Karl, Carine, Beyonce, Hugh Grant or LeAnn Rimes, all Virgos. Although… between all of us, we barely make up one truly sane person. My favorite part is how the Virgo conversation turns on a dime and all of a sudden Karl and Carine are talking about revenge and how we never forget a slight. God, that’s so true.
Also, Karl‘s quotes on children – “You’re also lucky because they are very beautiful. It would have been difficult to have an ugly daughter.” And, “If I were a woman, I would love to have lots of kids. But for men, I don’t believe in it.” WTF?!? Oh, Karl.
Photos courtesy of WENN.