By  on April 7, 2008

Karl Lagerfeld enters his futuristic new apartment on the Quai Voltaire—which resembles the command deck of some ultraluxurious spacecraft—and flicks a switch. Suddenly, the milky glass walls lining his vast living room/study splinter into panels that swivel open to reveal bookshelves, the motorized system emitting a high-pitched whir redolent of a Formula One race.

The sound effect is apt for the on-the-go life of Lagerfeld: a dizzying whirl of collections, fashion shows, editorial and advertising photography, exhibitions and book publishing. And yet the man still finds time to send countless handwritten notes and faxes, stay up to date on news and gossip, shop for the latest Japanese men’s wear (N.Hoolywood being his latest find) and run his own bookshop—seemingly knowing every word and image in each title it stocks.

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