By  on September 30, 2010

Get three of Paris’ top designers in one room, give them carte blanche to dish about fashion and the result is exactly as you might think. That’s what WWD did in April of 1973 with Kenzo Takada, Karl Lagerfeld and Sonia Rykiel, who were loose-lipped on everything from the state of New York fashion — “the rich women dress too much,” remarked Takada — to a woman’s age, which Lagerfeld dubbed “the worst racism of all.” Here, excerpts from their conversation (including a number of bon mots from a then-bearded Lagerfeld), which took place in Rykiel’s cozy Paris apartment.

On Knockoffs:
“I’ve had people with tele-objective lenses out in front of my boutique all last week. Once the collection is out, I don’t mind too much, but it does hurt to see good copies at under $20 in the boutique across the street when mine sell for $50.”

Takada: “There must be some way to control it, but we still haven’t figured out how. This year, we decided to lock the doors [to the show] at 6:45 because most of the uninvited rush in at the last minute. Well, we locked out The New York Times and Le Figaro.”

Lagerfeld: “It’s sadder to copy than to be copied.”

On Couture:
“Couture is no longer creation.”

Lagerfeld: “And life has changed so completely. A Schiaparelli was never made for the streets.”

On Women:
“I think each woman has a definite style and it is up to the individual to find her style.”

Lagerfeld: “Yes, but if a woman finds her style and the style changes, she’s in a panic. I think a man in a woman’s life makes her more demanding about the way she looks and dresses.”

Rykiel: “But I still think it is up to the individual woman to define herself — to spend a couple of hours in front of a mirror to get to know herself and what looks good on her.”

Lagerfeld: “Too many women try for the total look and that’s a disaster.”

Rykiel: “Yes, but that is what women must learn — to take things from everywhere and to put them together to suit themselves.”

Lagerfeld: “Marlene Dietrich once told me: ‘Look at me. My bust is too big. My stomach sticks out. One shoulder is higher than the other. But I know it. And that’s what makes the difference between me and other women.’ She’s the kind of woman if she puts on an ounce, she has a pair of pants totally altered.”

Takada: “I think it is most important for a woman to be able to change. But you must know yourself first to be open to change.”

Lagerfeld: “Too many intelligent women think fashion is nonsense and try to get by just on their brains. Then they reach 40 and they need help.”

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