Karl Lagerfeld has never shied away from a controversial soundbite: the Chanel creative powerhouse is, after all, the man who fat-shamed Adele, proclaimed that Pippa Middleton ‘should only show her back’ and described Meryl Streep as ‘cheap.’ Now, in a new interview with France’s Numero magazine, the designer has discussed the #MeToo movement that has aimed at exposing widespread sexual harassment in high profile industries like entertainment and fashion, taking a typically inflammatory but also highly problematic stance.
‘I’m fed up with it,’ the designer responded when asked for his take on the surge of allegations against photographers, designers and creatives working in his industry. ‘What shocks me most in all of this are the starlets who have taken 20 years to remember what happened. Not to mention the fact there are no prosecution witnesses,’ he continued, before adding as a mildly conciliatory side note that he ‘cannot stand’ Harvey Weinstein, the film producer who was accused of multiple counts of sexual misconduct in the wake of reports in the New York Times and the New Yorker.
As to whether the sea change in attitudes and new guidelines for working with models had affected his working process in any way, Karl remained defiant. ‘Absolutely not,’ he said. I read somewhere that now you must ask a model if she is comfortable with posing. It’s simply too much, from now on, as a designer, you can’t do anything.’
He went on to address allegations of sexual harassment against Interview magazine’s former creative director, describing them as ‘unbelievable.’
And for his final pronouncement on the subject? ‘If you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model! Join a nunnery, there’ll always be a place for you in the convent. They’re recruiting even.’ Sigh.
Elsewhere, Karl's inflammatory hot takes took shots at the late Azzedine Alaia (who, in the Chanel designer's words, ended his career 'making ballet slippers for menopausal fashion victims') and the new crop of designers including JW Anderson, Virgil Abloh and Jacquemus: when asked which of the trio he'd prefer to live out his days on a desert island with, he answered: 'I'd kill myself first.'