Karl Lagerfeld needs no introduction. It stands to reason that everyone in the room to see Lagerfeld receive the John B. Fairchild Honor on Tuesday evening is well aware of his legendary work for Fendi and Chanel — not to mention his own label. In conversation with WWD’s executive editor Bridget Foley, Lagerfeld talked about what has made his decades-spanning tenures at Fendi and Chanel possible. A big part of it: hands-off management and cushy work conditions. Lagerfeld has never had to rush to the subway at 7 a.m.
Perhaps the audience was slightly less familiar with Lagerfeld’s pre-Chanel history. The John B. Fairchild Honor was far from the designer’s first experience with the man after which the award is named. As Lagerfeld recalled, he first met the legendary chairman and editorial director in the late Fifties, when both lived in Paris, Lagerfeld working at Patou and Fairchild managing WWD’s bureau there. “He was not really keen on what I did,” said Lagerfeld of Fairchild. “Because, you know, I must admit I was bored to death.” At Patou he was required to create only two collections of 56 dresses a year.