You've got to hand it to Karl Lagerfeld. At the age of, officially, 73 - or according to baptism records and one relative, 78 - he is a fashion phenomenon who has not only outlasted and outlived many of his contemporaries, he has more energy, drive and ideas than some half his age. The creative king of Chanel and Fendi and master of a myriad collaborations and startups - which currently include Hogan, Macy's, S.T. Dupont and his new upscale Karl Lagerfeld Paris and 'masstige' Karl lines - Lagerfeld is like an indefatigable fashion Terminator. While his creativity might seem unstoppable, however, unlike Arnold Schwarzenegger's cyborg, Lagerfeld the man is made of flesh. But beyond concealing himself behind his trademark sunglasses and neck-high starched collars, Lagerfeld has made some effort in interviews to distance himself from the subject of cosmetic surgery.
“It’s better to have it on your body than in your face" he told me backstage after Fendi's Spring/Summer 2007 show in Milan in September 2006, referring to the collection's silicon pieces.
"I don't think those operations are very pleasant. Perhaps I should try one, but I don't think I will. I am too scared. The idea that you cannot move your face must be horrible" Lagerfeld told WWD in Los Angeles the following year, while unveiling Chanel's 2007 Cruise collection - and talking about the city's penchant for plastic surgery.
These comments were made five years ago, we'll grant you. But this is how Lagerfeld looks right now, as per a series of unretouched news images, taken at various events in the last six months. A handsome, older man:
|getty via daylife|
It's a bit of a contrast to the image on the cover of the new i-D (above) in which Lagerfeld has no wrinkles whatsoever and a finely chiselled chin. For those unfamiliar with the magazine, the surgical eyepatch would appear to be more of a creative interpretation of the trademark 'wink' of all i-D cover stars, than a reference to surgery.
Retouching is of course endemic across the fashion media. But the interesting question here is: who did the retouching, i-D or Lagerfeld? The cover image is promoted as a self portrait.
Emails to i-D's managing editor Dominique Fenn and Lagerfeld's press attaché Caroline Fragner have so far gone unanswered, so unfortunately we don't have any answers.