Saturday, February 23, 2019

Karl Lagerfeld: Bigot Who Is Dead Now

Designer Karl Lagerfeld recently died. Before you engage in some social media retrospective on Karl Lagerfeld's achievements or conscientiously separate the man's problems from his genius, consider this.

Karl Lagerfeld didn't WANT his legacy to be associated with people sized Heidi Klum or larger. He didn't WANT his memory to live on in their fat hearts and minds. And his wishes should be respected.

You're not some Marie Antoinette, his "fashion empire" wasn't FOR you. He created a second legacy, though, just for you. That is yours to keep alive:

His empire is built on the funerals of little girls who died of eating disorders while he peddled Heroin Chic.

Because of Lagerfeld, little girls grew up hearing that Heidi Klum is too fat. 

Lagerfeld is the reason underage models were mocked and dehumanized for being groped on the job. He's probably the reason even more of them chose to remain silence.

He was there to undermine the achievements of great people because of their appearances.

He was the face of an avante-garde which betrayed war-torn refugees as re-creators of the Holocaust. Which is dismissive of actresses who have been raped. He was responsible for a creative industry which gave refuge instead to bigots and the monied far-right.

He's the reason young women were rejected by their own fantasy which they created. The dreamy world of fashion you escape to? It hates you, specifically. The fantasy is owned by Lagerfeld, and you are disgusting within it. 

He's the reason you don't remember Coco Chanel as a Nazi.

He the reason that rank hatred was given a chic, flippant facade which emboldened the world's Least Favorite Aunt Brigade to turn their poison on other women and girls. He's the reason that banal followers in figurative lynch mobs can look in the mirror at the end of the day and see themselves as each an elite member of that exclusive club of naughty lovable mischief-makers who just know how to have fun. He's the reason that their victims instinctively expect to be mocked.

Of course, he could not have done any of this alone. The supportive lap of mega-corporations and a perverse fashion industry made it all possible by giving him endless chances and excuses.

After his recent death, actress Jameela Jamil wrote, "A ruthless, fat-phobic misogynist shouldn't be posted all over the internet as a saint gone-too-soon." She was immediately publicly engaged by supermodel and Lagerfeld's "muse" Cara Delevigne, who argued that that it's "impossible" not to hurt people and that he should have room to be forgiven.

But forgiven by whom? and why? Would Lagerfeld have actually wanted to be forgiven by those he so obviously wished had ceased to exist? He didn't WANT the uglies. He didn't want YOU.

Even though he hated you, yes YOU, you're free to enjoy the aesthetic he created if you want. That would benefit you and you alone. Or, enjoy mulling over his more amusing victimless hatreds (breakfast food, hypothetical small children of his own he never had, having to arrive at one's plane on time if one's company doesn't send a private jet, sycophants, people who aren't sycophantic enough, the frustration at the only block to one's own genius being one's own frustration, the way mega-wealthy Parisian social life just isn't as fun as it used to be, sweatpants, rich people who are communists). But who benefits from all the witless eulogizing? The brands he helped build. The only reason to take the high road, to separate man from genius, to perform all this free emotional labor, is so that huge corporations can squeeze one last bit of profit out of their dead moneymaker (such as the Chanel company and stockholders, Condé Nast, the Karl Lagerfeld company, stores and hotels and the company's owner Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy Hilfiger's owner the multi-billion dollar international private equity firm Apax Parters, Fendi and its owner the LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE Group and many more). Did you wake up this morning planning to invest your emotional labor in those companies? No? Then don't, and instead invest that energy where it matters-- healing the harm done, enjoying your life.


I didn't go into any specifics because it was simply too much for this post. It also tends to read as, "he said this bitchy thing about that celeb," string of incidents which completely distracts from his legacy for normal people, which is an atmosphere of hate with real victims. As Lara Witt wrote, "publications have described his comments as 'catty', 'bitchy', 'acid-tongued and superficial' and 'controversial' instead of sexist, misogynistic, racist, fat-phobic, and islamophobic." If you're confused and you want to read more about the incidents and life to which I'm referring, read these:

1 comment:

Big Monster said...

Ha Ha!

I celebrated his demise in the same fashion. And I have a deep desire to wear worn out sweatpants all day and every day with LAGERFELD screaming across the back of them.

The fact that he left his fortune to a cat was just so cliche. It seems disappointingly tacky. Then again, to whom would he have left his fortune if not to someone unworthy of it? To be fair, your fortune being spent on a short-lived pet is the perfect way to say "Fuck You, Humanity". As such was his legacy.

He will be missed.