Saturday, November 10, 2007
Karl Lagerfeld and his odd bedtime habits
Tatler editor Geordie Greig's interview with Chanel's legendary fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld in the magazine's December issue is faintly fawning to say the least, and it left me a little confused on the matter of the subject's bedtime habits, described in regal detail.
We learn that Karl sleeps in a long white nightdress, in a room with no curtains, for seven hours every night, "like clockwork". But before Hypnos carts him off to oblivion, Karl reads "two pages in bed before the book falls on his face." Karl adds: "I then read in the early morning" even though, as Geordie relates immediately afterwards, "he is woken by light and hunger". That he reads rather than breakfasts first thing is an example to me of admirable masochism.
But let us think this routine through. So, Karl lies in bed, presumably on his back with the book in his hands held above his face. This then crashes onto his face as he nods off. Would this not wake him up? - I take it he's not under sedation. I suppose it depends on the weight of the tome. A slim novella by Ian McEwan or Susan Hill might not make much impression on unconsciousness, but what if it was a fat Nicholas Coleridge hardback novel or anything by Tolstoy? This would surely bring Karl around with a start, and squash his nose too.
Perhaps we should assume that Karl's steepled arms descend gently and smoothly as consciousness ebbs away - he is elegance personified, after all - like one of those rickety elevators in ancient department stores (Debenhams usually) heading south, so that the book enjoys a soft landing. But if awareness ebbs away then we must also assume that he does not actually read the two pages unless he means that his lights go out precisely at the moment he reaches the last word on the second page, Pavlov style. This is most unlikely. I fear that Mr Lagerfeld probably stops reading well before he has turned his first page as drowsiness sets in. Mystery novels must remain a mystery to him, if this is the case.
But even if we accept this two-page claim, are we then to believe that the King of Chic sleeps his seven hours and then awakes with a book spread-eagled upon his visage, like some vampiric bat seeking to infect a new recruit for Vlad? Can you imagine a more absurd sight, accompanied we may suppose by the slightest rumble of a snore beneath? Happily, as Geordie loyally explains: "[Karl] does not take himself too seriously."
Geordie's top 10 Lagerfeld arselicks from the Tatler interview
1 "Lagerfeld is a man of supreme sophistication, charm and power"
2 "And supreme taste"
3 "He massacres hypocrisy and cant"
4 "He is a man of supreme politeness and decorum"
5 "No other designer seems to inspire such adulation"
6 "Pretension is his bugbear"
7 "With a clear conscience, he sleeps long and easy"
8 "He doesn't do anything as banal as translated books" (because he reads in four languages)
9 "His workload is Herculean"
10 "He is courteous, charming, gentle and yet incisive"
To acquaint yourself with the master click here.