On the eve of his Chanel Cruise (as he prefers to refer to it) collection in Miami, Karl Lagerfeld sat down with Style.com between fittings to talk about his reading list, decorating projectsand the Anna Wintour shoulder.
How has the idea of resort collections changed?
It's not Resort anymore. It's another collectionin the story of Fall, pre-Fall, Paris/London, pre-Spring, Springcalled "cruise." It's like a code name, but the thing is that Chanel needs six ready-to-wear collections a year, every two months completely new things at the shops. There are hundreds of shops all over the world that have to have something new all the time or else there's no reason to go back. Or else you go to a place like Colette where they see 100 labels. If it's one label, this label needs to have something new all the time.
The answer is very simple, because apparently [holds up a page from the April 24 issue of WWD showing that Florida is "the domestic and international destination most booked by travel agents for summer 2008"]. Plus, you know, there was never a relation between [Coco] Chanel and Miami, so we make one. [We're interrupted by the arrival of model Iekeliene Stange in a black-and-peach satin dress with one very special feature, which Lagerfeld then explains.] This is called the Anna Wintour shoulderit is like the things she had at the Met. It was invented for her.
What are you reading?
"Diva: Defiance and Passion in Early Italian Cinema." I will show you; you may laugh, but it's very interesting if you know all about Italian silent movies and the concept. It's a quite difficult bookit's not a novel, it's not a biography. " Women Who Write" and "Brilliant Women: 18th Century Bluestockings." Now we have blue tights!
Any summer plans?
I go to Monte Carlo and Saint-Tropez because I have a house thereand you know, [they are] not too far away. I've traveled enough this yeargoing to China twice and all that.
Are you doing any decorating these days?
Yes, I just finished my place on the Left Bank, which will be only in American Vogue and nowhere else. I am shipping my furniture that I collected from my apartment in New York in Gramercy Park and then I'm doing a town house in Paris for guestsbut I don't live there. I'm doing a mix that I've never done yet. My private place is very, very, very modern: nothing done before 2000. No art, only glass and light. It's on the river, but I have to stay away from the windows because the [touring] boats, they [come by and] say, "and here lives Madame Chirac " Thank God I'm not there all the time. So I bought next door a house, where I can mix eighteenth century with all the things from Art Deco and modern things. Mixing eighteenth century and Art Deco was never done like this. I have beautiful furniture from the eighteenth century: very, very French. Laird Borrelli-Persson
Photo: Courtesy of Chanel/Photo Karl Lagerfeld 2008