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Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette visit Toronto. Seriously.
Hanging with Karl Lagerfeld last night at the Art Shoppe Lofts + Condo opening party in Toronto.
It was his fourth party in five days, but Karl Lagerfeld’s stamina is remarkable. The famous designer was in town last night to attend the opening launch of the Art Shoppe Lofts + Condo project. As if his “to do” list wasn’t impressive enough, Lagerfeld was commissioned to design the lobby spaces. It’s his first major project in Canada and his first condo project in North America. "I’ve not designed it yet, but I have ideas,” he told me, when we sat down for a brief chat away from the adoring hoards outside. “They first have to sell all these little love nests and then I can talk about it. I can’t now, because I may change my mind. Tomorrow we have a meeting—I hate that word—where I will explain my ideas.” During our little tête-à-tête, we talked about fame, the
‘70s revival and
Kendall Jenner—but first, an update on
Choupette. After looking at some photos of the A-list feline cavorting around the suite at the Four Seasons Toronto, we got down to business.
Karl’s beyond dotty: “My best friends had a cat, and they were beyond mad for this cat. Now I’m worse…. I had dogs before in the country, but I’ve never had an animal this near to me who brings out the best in me. She makes me a better human being. I think I’m less mean.”
A day in the life of Choupette when she’s on the road: “She’s never alone. There’s always someone with her. The girls spend hours playing with her. Right now she’s probably wandering around the suite—it’s so big—and wondering where she will sleep. I expect she will end up in my end as she normally does. She sleeps quite a lot. She also loves to look out windows. I think she’s very happy at the Four Seasons. She’s beyond happy.”
Choupette’s beauty routine: “She is brushed five times a day by the maid. I can’t do it. I don’t have the patience. She also gets special drops in her eyes once a month when she visits the doctor. She has two travelling bags. One is a special one from Louis Vuitton, which she loves, and the other is the one that we only use when she goes to the doctor. When she sees that one, she disappears. The maid and the driver take her; I never go. For two days after a visit, she’s not speaking with them. She’s not forgiving them for putting her in that position.”
How Choupette maintains her girlish figure: “She only eats what the doctor prescribes. It’s special food just for her, and she has never put on weight. She’s still 3.5 kilos and not one gram more. She has been that way since she was a year and a half.”
The world learned yesterday that Choupette earned 3 million Euros last year for a campaign she did with a German car company and for being the muse for the holiday 2014 makeup collection from Shu Uemura. So what does the most pampered cat in the world do with that kind of coin? Read on…
“Choupette did the two big advertising projects because I wanted her to have a private fortune should something happen to me. After she was paid, I asked Choupette to make a big cheque to Brigitte Bardot and her animal foundation. The day after she sent it, Choupette received a nice letter from Brigitte. It was a very sweet letter, but then two weeks later I got a letter from the foundation saying from now on I shouldn’t use fur in my collections. I’m sorry, but as long as people eat meat and wear leather…. Nobody kills animals who are on the border of disappearing. There are people who make their living in this industry. I think it is very pretentious for people to ask this. I don’t eat meat and I don’t wear fur, but it’s an industry. "Leather is waxed fur. I don’t like to discuss this subject. The idea of eating meat makes me want to vomit. As a child, I saw 1,000 pigs slaughtered in the country—and that’s not something you want to see. The noise. The screaming. I will hear it until the end of my life. I understand it, but it’s an industry and you can’t suppress an industry. Now I give money to refuges where they take care of poor cats. I give it to them directly, not to foundations anymore.”
Does Choupette—or Karl—ever feel conflicted about the luxurious life she enjoys? “No, not at all. Life is based on this kind of…not everyone has the same chance.”
Here are the other highlights from my interview with the inimitable artist.
What’s one word you should never use with Karl? “Emotion. You can put emotion into your work, but you shouldn’t comment on emotion or it becomes cheap. It’s an overused word. There’s a grand emotion for everything today. I’m tired of that word.”
Karl on fame: “I was born to be like this. I remember when I was six, I said to myself ‘You will be famous one day.’ It was ridiculous, but I said that to myself. I was not born to be anonymous. I didn’t make a special effort for it, but it came to me. It’s getting even worse. My fortune teller told me ‘For you, it will become even more interesting when it stops for the others.’ And that’s what has happened.”
The ’70s retro-mania mood: “It surprises me that the young designers are not doing things from their own time but another era. I have difficulty understanding why these people—some of whom are quite pretentious—would be satisfied by a retrospective recreation. I really don’t understand that. The ’70s were okay but not as great as people who have not known them think they were.”
His career advice for young designers: “It’s difficult to answer that question. I’m not sure what I can say. I’ve been around for quite a time. If you start today, you’ll never start the way I started because the world is different. When I started, young people were hated because they had no experience and we had to prove that we were okay. Today, everybody who is 20 can be a genius for two years or a few seasons. There’s so much drama; too much hype can kill young talent. Too much too early is very dangerous.”
Speaking of hyped young talent… His thoughts on Kendall Jenner? “She’s a very nice person. Kendall suddenly developed from a little chubby baby to a great model with a real personality. In the beginning, people were not too mad for her and then she became something that nobody expected. She also has a good stage mother! I think her mother is very fun.”
His thoughts on Toronto and why he came here: “I’ve seen nothing of the city, but the people seem nice. I needed a professional reason to come to Toronto, otherwise I never would have come. I do a show for Chanel in Korea in a month and that’s why I will go there. I hate to be a tourist. Tourists are idiots.”
In defence of the crazy cat lady Choupette Darling: The best times Karl Lagerfeld talked about his cat Emma Génier gets her big break. Hello, Chanel!