Here's my "All Over the Map" from last week's Arkansas Weekly:
Karl Lagerfeld is a legendary German fashion designer who lives in Paris.
(To all my fellow straight male readers: Wait! Don’t turn the page! This gets interesting.)
Recently, Harper’s Bazaar published a little column entitled “My List: Karl Lagerfeld in 24 Hours,” where readers were invited into the private daily world of Karl. (Click on that link to read it!)
Karl is an interesting dandy. He dresses as if he were an 18th-century rock star. His powdered white hair is always in a ponytail. He is never without his jet-black sunglasses. He wears jackets with tails, sequined gloves, and dark denim pants of his own design that also have images of his profile on the back pocket.
By now, you realize he is someone who would likely not survive a midnight stop at a rural Arkansas convenience store should he ever find himself in such an improbable situation.
That’s unfortunate, of course. Because I think if you read “My List: Karl Lagerfeld in 24 Hours,” you’ll understand Karl is, deep down, just one of the guys. In fact, I found that Karl and I are very similar.
In the article, Karl states that he sleeps in a “…a long, full-length white shirt, in a material called poplin imperial, made for me by Hilditch & Key in Paris after a design of a 17th-century men’s nightshirt I saw at the Victoria and Albert Museum.”
Well, damn if I don’t sleep in a white shirt, too! My shirt, in a mixture of materials called cotton and polyester, is made for me by Hanes after a design implemented from their corporate offices in the late 1940s.
After Karl rises, he has a protein shake made from steamed apples with a “chocolate taste and no sugar, of course” and then, like me, he prepares for the day by getting the creative juices stirring with some reading and sketching.
“I have a special canopy for that, near the window, where I can see the Louvre and the Seine,” he says. “I only read, look at books, and sketch. And daydream — daydreaming’s important too.”
I have a special canopy for reading and sketching as well! I like to curl up under my canopy with my starch shake made from steamed potatoes and Count Chocula, sketch out my dreams from the night before, and look at my view of the glorious cul-de-sac outside my house. I have to agree with Karl. It’s a delightful way to start the day.
After a good long soak in the tub (another daily routine that Karl and I have in common), Karl’s ready to get dressed. And as I noted earlier, Karl has a look and style from which he rarely deviates.
“My latest uniform is actually two looks — a special jacket with tails made by Dior, but not what you wear for weddings,” he says. “I have them made in tweed and things like this. Then I have another jacket I love from the new Dior men’s collection that I bought five of, so people think I wear the same thing every day, but in fact it’s never the same thing.”
See, that’s STYLE! Jackets with tails! And a look that fools people into thinking you’re wearing the same thing every day, but…you’re not! That, again, is somewhat like me. I usually wear a dark t-shirt with jeans. But I have, like, 10 dark t-shirts and six pairs of jeans – but they’re not all the same brands! So, people may think I wear the same thing every day, but I’m not! This is something Karl and I would call, “faking you out,” or as Karl would say in his adopted French language, “le faux depardieu truffaut.”
(And I would wear a jacket with tails every day as well, but I have yet to find one at Kohl’s.)
After a long day at work (which amounts to about three hours for Karl – basically the same amount of hours in which I toil), the designer heads back to one of his two homes. He has one home for lunch and visiting guests, and another home nearby for dinner and sleeping – which, honestly, sounds very practical. In fact, once I sell my semi-autobiographical screenplay about a hard-edged newspaper columnist who dreams of becoming the world’s most famous Liberace impersonator while also engaging in a torrid romance with Joy Behar, I think I’ll use the funds to build a house next door to my home where I can entertain guests with lunch, tea and my large collection of Pokemon memorabilia.
At his sleeping home, Karl ends his day with his treasured pussycat, Choupette.
“The cat always stays home, and when I leave, the maid takes care of her,” Karl says. “The cat is like a very refined object; she doesn’t go into the street, and she doesn’t go to other places. She is a spoiled princess.”
All of which pretty much describes you and me, Karl: Two spoiled princesses in canopies.
Now, excuse me. I must go and play with my pet hamster, Fulmer Manning, and finish watching Swamp People.