To paraphrase Sinatra: disappointments, I've had a few. There was the Michelin-starred restaurant in France that gave me heartburn, the limited-edition sneakers that I trekked all over LA to locate that gave me blisters, the luxury moisturizer that gave me a rash, Martin Scorsese's Gangs of New York, chocolate-covered bacon, high school, rollerblades, Atkins, the push-up bra, Berlin, magic mushrooms, Victorian literature, YSL Tribute heels, and muffins. But no one disappointed me more this week than Karl Lagerfeld.
In an interview that ran in Paris Metro, Lagerfeld is quoted as calling singing sensation Adele "a little too fat" but with a "beautiful face." Which is just the kind of backhanded compliment all girls love to receive. Now, the thing with Kaiser Karl is that he used to be fat, so I kind of get that his subtext is probably all, "eef I deed eet, you can too," but he doesn't have to be such an asshole about it.
The problem with Lagerfeld isn't just that he's a former fat guy who looks down his reconstructed nose at anyone who has an affinity for carbs, but he also has an industry full of backup. He's been spewing offensive rhetoric about anyone larger than a size -2 for years yet has never really come under fire for it. It's like he's the Roman Polanski of the fashion world. But in case you're worried that he might be a one-trick-pony of insults, in the same interview he also called Russian men ugly, and said Greeks and Italians have disgusting habits — one can only imagine he was referring to the regular consumption of food. As an Italian, all I can say to that is: touché, M. Lagerfeld.
Thankfully, Adele doesn't seem too fussed about it. She hit back with the requisite, "I represent the real woman" blah blah blah. A response that really doesn't need to be spoken aloud. Least of all in response to something an emaciated artifact said. I don't know if you, dear reader, can possibly comprehend how much it hurts me to say negative things about Lagerfeld. I respect him so deeply as a designer, an artist, a visionary; he helms the house of Chanel, which is nothing short of a religion for me! But I'd be lying if I didn't say I think he's slipping. His spring/summer 2011 cruise collection bordered on predictable and cliched, and his recent couture collection largely fell flat, in my opinion. I think he's lost sight of who his customer is and remains stuck in the early noughties notion that the young customer controls consumer spending. Is it any surprise that he's still dropping bombs about someone being "a little too fat"? He belongs to a bygone era of corporate omnipotence and cigarettes-and-coffee diets. Perhaps it's time he bid adieu.