Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Karl Lagerfeld

"Personality begins where comparison ends." - Karl Lagerfeld 

I first heard of Karl Lagerfeld when I was interning for a German eCommerce during a semester break ten years ago. One of my main tasks was to write short biographies of successful German designers -- and the second I started the research process on the fashion mogul, I was, naturally, hypnotized. I have been a follower ever since. I was the most thrilled person on the planet when the news broke that he was launching his eponymous label. At least, I like to think I was (I do groupie like no other). To say I love his designs is a clear understatement. To say they compliment my outfit nearly every day of my life is an accurate statement. Finding, or defining, your own style -- how, what and who you expose to the the rest of world -- is not easy, but Lagerfeld made that quite effortless for me. I immediately identified with his designs, better yet, his designs modeled my identity. This morning, my heart skipped a beat when I read my best friend's message; for today, February 19th 2019, will be remembered as the day the world lost the most iconic Karl Lagerfeld.

"Change is the healthiest way to survive." - Karl Lagerfeld 

More than being a giant in the fashion industry, a forward-thinking designer, a pioneer of all sorts, his work spoke for itself, what fascinated me the most about Lagerfeld was the 'enigma' behind those dark sunglasses. Since his passing a couple of hours ago, a number of photographs of him resurfaced with his eyes... unshielded, and while it may not be the first time that I see him without the signature look, I have to confess that it shocked me almost as much as the news itself (I am exaggerating). The eyes, chico, they never lie (Scarface), but his gaze was truthfully such a rare sighting that it seemed as if they revealed absolutely nothing (I mean this in a positive way). He himself once stated that he wanted to be caricaturist and in the end, he actually became a caricature. As a matter of fact, it is this wondrous, mysterious idea of him that always persisted. We never really quite knew him, yet he knew exactly who he was. Savage humor, his wit was adamant. His thirst for knowledge, exemplary. His take on the past, quintessential. His love of beauty and rejection of the ugly, supreme. Moreover, he was as much true to his 'karlisms' as he was detached from them, claiming for instance that his words or vision could change and no longer be relevant the very next day he uttered them. The fact that he was completely aware of this ever-evolving versatility is the real reason he was such a legend. The legend. Unapologetic. He was so unapologetic. I adore that. I still aspire to be like that. 

"No deadline for a new life" - Karl Lagerfeld

The last 'celebrity' passing that devastated me, and still does, was Amy Winehouse's back in 2011. I continue to listen to her on a regular basis. I have lost count of the number of times she inspired my poetry or essays. It is plenty. I miss her. Always. Admittedly, I oftentimes feel somewhat daneben to feel deeply for public figures, mainly because they genuinely are unattainable to us mere mortals; but truth of the matter is that whoever manages to touch my soul has a place in my life -- even more so in my writing. My idols influence me through their brilliance, art, intellect, creativity, talent and/or life stories. I admire them. I love them, because they make me optimistic on the writer's life I create for myself. And ultimately, I want to thank them for that. Like Amy Winehouse or Marlon Brando or River Phoenix, dearest Karl Lagerfeld, you left giant footprints on my heart that no wave of time can ever erase. Thank you for your genius. Thank you for making monochrome the most colorful days of my life.