Get Inspired by a Master: 5 Lessons from Karl Lagerfeld


Inspiration is not easy to analyze.  And sometimes, inspiration gets you at your soul.  It makes you feel as if you could scale a building, get opposing political parties to sit down together, and most important, live your passion.

Watching the legendary designer Karl Lagerfeld being interviewed by the actress Jessica Chastain made me feel all of these things.  During the past few weeks since I heard him, I have been continually brought back to his insights and energy.    I marvel at the 80-year-old Lagerfeld, who has been able to take the most famous fashion label, Chanel, and make it modern.  And most importantly, to move his ideas forward, he has never looked to the past.

Here are five simple ideas that continue to inspire me:

1.      On Taking Risks

“I got the job with Chanel. . .Everyone said don’t touch it, it’s dead. . .in those days when a brand was dead, it was dead.  But when people said it was dead and hopeless, I said it was interesting.”

2.       On Loving the Process

“I couldn’t care less about my name.  What I like is the job.  A  lot of designers have people do it for them on the computer. . .I do it myself.  I physically like the work of sketching.  Sometimes I have ideas before I wake up.”

3.      On the Intangible Process of being Inspired

“It’s all a little off focus. I don’t know and I don’t want to know. . . ideas come and go. . .be influenced but don’t put it into words.”

4.      On Looking Forward

“I don’t like to talk about the past.  I don’t keep anything.  You want a sketch?  I have to make one. . .Dresses?  I have nothing.  I love the job.  I love it for doing it not for having done.”

5.      On having a pet (or something or someone) to keep help keep it light

“My cat Choupette is the most beautiful cat in the world. . .She helped me become a nice person.”

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