Style Voices

Thursday 18 April 2019

Ciara O'Connor: 'Karl Lagerfeld wasn't some eccentric old man - his opinions damaged real people in his industry and beyond'

Millennial Diary: Karl Lagerfeld, Kylie Jenner and Missy Keating

In this Tuesday July 9, 1996 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld is surrounded by Canadian model Linda Evangelista, left, and British model Naomi Campbell, right, and other models after the presentation of his 1996-97 fall-winter haute couture fashion collection for Chanel in Paris
In this Tuesday July 9, 1996 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld is surrounded by Canadian model Linda Evangelista, left, and British model Naomi Campbell, right, and other models after the presentation of his 1996-97 fall-winter haute couture fashion collection for Chanel in Paris
Karl Lagerfeld poses for photographers prior to the start of a press conference, in Rome in 2013
‘I don’t care about Karl Lagerfeld, particularly — and I didn’t think anyone else still did either’, Photo: PA
Karl Lagerfeld arriving for the wedding of Prince Albert II of Monaco and Charlene Wittstock at the Place du Palais in 2011
In this Thursday October 19, 1995 file photo, German designer Karl Lagerfeld joins models, from left, American Cindy Crawford, Canadian Linda Evangelista and Claudia Schiffer of Germany after the presentation of his 1996 spring-summer ready-to-wear fashion collection for Chanel in Paris
In this Tuesday, July 22, 1997 file photo, Diana, Princess of Wales, German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld and British pop-star Elton John, attend the memorial mass for Gianni Versace, inside Milan's gothic cathedral, Italy
FILE - In this Oct. 5, 1985 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld attends the opening of an exhibition at Rome's National Galley of Modern Art to celebrate the 20-year-collaboration between Lagerfeld and the Fendis
HIGH FASHION: Top British models Naomi Campbell, right, and Stella Tennant pose with Karl Lagerfeld after he presented his Chanel collection in January 1997

Ciara O'Connor

I don't particularly care that Karl Lagerfeld thought feminists were ugly - though I consider myself to be one.

I don't care that Karl Lagerfeld hated tracksuit bottoms, that he thought they were a sign of a person out of control - though I am a dedicated scholar of elasticated waistbands and a true believer in soft things.  I don't care about Karl Lagerfeld, particularly - and I didn't think anyone else still did either.

Please log in or register with Independent.ie for free access to this article.

Log In

I was surprised about the 'outpouring' of grief (is there any other kind?) last week, because I thought we'd quietly decided to pretend he was already dead, given his unambiguous and proudly public misogyny and general intolerance.

When a few prominent people pointed this out, it all kicked off. Apparently it was disrespectful, when someone had died. But Karl isn't 'someone', he was an extremely public figure who revelled in being an extremely public figure - to say he courted controversy would be a disservice to a man whose love for dressing thin women in clothes could only be matched by his passion for pissing people off.

In this Tuesday July 9, 1996 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld is surrounded by Canadian model Linda Evangelista, left, and British model Naomi Campbell, right, and other models after the presentation of his 1996-97 fall-winter haute couture fashion collection for Chanel in Paris
In this Tuesday July 9, 1996 file photo, Karl Lagerfeld is surrounded by Canadian model Linda Evangelista, left, and British model Naomi Campbell, right, and other models after the presentation of his 1996-97 fall-winter haute couture fashion collection for Chanel in Paris

Karl Lagerfeld's words hurt people. And I'm not talking some wounded snowflake PC-gone-mad feelings - it's the most influential man in fashion publicly stating that models shouldn't model if they don't want their "pants pulled about".

That's giving predatory men in fashion carte blanche to do what they want. That's telling models who are victims of abuse to sit down and shut up. That's bolstering the untouchability of the kind of men who have abused their way through the fashion world, never fearing consequences because they could pay their bills comfortably, and their models could not.

Karl Lagerfeld was not an eccentric old man, from a different time whom we should tolerate like your racist grandad who never goes out anyway. Karl Lagerfeld was the creative director of Chanel and Fendi until the day he died. His opinions mattered, and they materially damaged real people in his industry and beyond. I can't say he was taken too soon.

*******

"The worst pain is getting hurt by a person you explained your pain to," read one quote on Khloe Kardashian's Instagram story. The next: "Somebody needs to hear this… that betrayal was your blessing!!!". And then, the poetic: "If they ask you about me, tell them: 'She was the only person that loved me with honesty, and I broke her'."

It was not a press release or an official statement, but this is how the world knew that the rumours were true: Khloe's partner, Tristan, had cheated on her.

As the entire Kardashian/Jenner family unfollowed Jordyn Woods on Instagram, it became clear that she was the Other Woman.

Gwyneth Paltrow, who is fluent in 2019's currency of social status, commented on a meme about the drama: "Can someone explain what's going on? I have never heard of half of these people" - because the only thing more chic than jade vaginal eggs is pretending not to know who the Kardashians are.

Gwyneth: this wasn't simply a betrayal of Khloe by Tristan. The 21-year-old he cheated with was allegedly Jordyn Woods - Kylie Jenner's BBF. Joined at the hip, Jordyn was a part of the family. The Kardashians referred to her as a sister. She collaborated with Kylie on a line for the incredibly lucrative Kylie Cosmetics. She had partnership deals with fashion and beauty brands.

She had built a seriously successful career around being Kylie Jenner's other half.

Now, Jordyn has apparently moved out of Kylie's and back into her mum's house. In a move so petty it brought tears to my eyes, Kylie Cosmetics slashed the price of the "Jordy" Velvet Liquid Lipstick Lip Kit. The kit has completely sold out now, as fans scrambled to secure this rare cultural artefact, this era-defining relic.

I'd like to throw my hat in the ring for the role of Kylie's new best friend. I'm sexually unthreatening and it would be an awful waste to have the guest house sitting empty.

*******

I have watched Missy Keating, daughter of Ronan, on The Voice several times now - at various volumes, on a selection of devices. I can't work it out.

Obviously, I don't actually watch The Voice. I, like all millennials, get all the nail-biting drama and sad backstories I need from the Instagram account of the Kardashian/Jenner sisters. But when I heard about young Missy and the miscarriage of justice that saw not a single judge press their mad button and spin their silly big chair around for her, I became deeply invested in The Voice UK, season eight.

Missy Keating auditioned with her school friend Georgia Gaffney, who she has played music with for a while now. They're lovely. And they were lovely on the show - lovely voices, lovely girls, Missy even played some lovely guitar.

I never thought I'd have occasion to have any strong feelings about Olly Murs, breakout star of 2009's X-Factor - but as I watched him tease us, hand hovering over his big red button of validation before snatching it back, I confess - I hated him.

In that moment, I could have hurt Olly Murs. In that moment, there was nothing I wouldn't have done to protect Yvonne, watching from the wings.

In Ireland we are proud of our republic, proud to live in a meritocracy where the mere accident of birth won't land you with a crown and a few dozen palaces. But we have our own kind of monarchy - the internationally successful Irish celebrity.

And we couldn't help feel that who Missy's father was should mean something, that her lineage should have ensued her success that day.

Perhaps it opened ancestral wounds, seeing our lovely Irish girls of good Louis Walsh pedigree so publicly snubbed on English television. I don't know.

I'd say we haven't seen the last of Missy; the poor kid deserves a break. After all - her dad is Ronan Keating.

Sunday Independent

Editors Choice

Also in this section