Iconic Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld has always had rather colourful opinions when it comes to the style of celebrities, but his recent praise of The Queen has garnered much giddy vindication for royal fashion fans around the world.
In a recent interview, the accomplished 78-year-old visionary with the signature white ponytail admitted to being awestruck by the 87-year-old Monarch’s classic sense of style…
“Nobody does the job better than [The Queen] does. She is never ridiculous; she is flawless,” said the eclectic fashion guru, who is particularly impressed by The Queen’s clever use of ‘the power suit’ for every occasion.
“For this job, in our day, she is perfect,” he continued, in his courtly German accent. “She’s not supposed to be a fashion icon who is changing fashion. The Duchess of Cambridge can do that.”
“Kate is chic in a classic way, but sometimes, with her Philip Treacy hats, Camilla is wilder,” said Mr. Lagerfeld, comparing Britain’s future queens. “I know people who know her. Apparently, she’s full of wit and spirit.”
In June 2012, as French television’s France 2 royal commentator during Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee, the Chanel designer took the opportunity to sketch on-air his own rendition of a cape he considered to be a preferable alternative to Angela Kelly’s choice of a shawl over The Queen’s ivory coat.
If he was eager to point out the adjustments he would have made to the royal couturier’s design, Lagerfeld’s admiration for The Queen’s elegance could not have been more sincere. “Pour son rôle, pour ce qu’elle est, on voit difficilement quelle autre tenue la Reine aurait pu porter de mieux.” (‘For her role, for who she is, one could hardly have imagined a better outfit for The Queen to wear.’)
He then praised her dignity, saying: “La Reine ne donne pas dans la surenchère d’émotions; je trouve cette distance très élégante.” (‘The Queen doesn’t give in to her emotions; I find her reserve most elegant.’)
A Hamburg-born Lagerfeld assured French viewers that his admiration for the British Monarch runs deep… He recalled how, in 1952, at the age of 19, he asked his parents to buy him his very own television set so that he could watch The Queen’s coronation.
“La Reine est mystérieuse mais humaine; sans mystère, ça ne marcherait pas,” he tweeted on-air. (‘The Queen is mysterious but human; devoid of mystery, it just wouldn’t work.’)
If nature did its best to dampen the Diamond Jubilee celebrations, Lagerfeld – the passionate photographer – waxed poetic, comparing the 21st century pageant on The Thames to a Canaletto painting:
“La pluie donne une sorte de poésie qu’un soleil de plomb ne donnerait pas; ce temps rend la cérémonie plus irréelle,” he tweeted. (‘The rain provides a kind of poetry that oppressive sunlight could never conjure up… This weather makes the ceremony more surreal.’)
Mr. Lagerfeld’s appreciation for Her Majesty’s understated elegance was evident in a pre-Jubilee interview with French newspaper Metro, in which he compared the reigning Monarch to her grandmother.
“I think [Queen Elizabeth] looks very good in her recent photos, even better than a few years ago – beautiful, a bit like Queen Mary. She looks a little bit like her grandmother – a more smiley version. In terms of what she wears, she’s come into herself a little bit more – whatever that is.”
Unfortunately, if the outspoken cosmopolitan designer admires Queen Elizabeth’s timeless sense of style, he has also admitted to having no use for the Monarchy.
“It’s good for the tourists because it brings a lot of money in,” he said. “It’s totally unnecessary, but it’s pleasant. Why not have the monarchy? People can dream about it.”
Mr. Lagerfeld first suggested his view of a ‘pleasant’ monarchy before the Royal Wedding in 2011. In describing the future bride, he said of Catherine:
“She is a lovely person with a beautiful body. I like her nose. I will be commenting on French TV. Royalty is good for the crowd.”
As he was being interviewed for Grazia magazine, the dark-spectacled self-proclaimed ‘mass-elitist’ shared his appreciation for another ‘royal mum’ in the making – the future queen’s mother, Carole Middleton, saying:
“I think Carole is very sexy. I think the mother is sexier than the daughters. There is something full of life about her. For a woman who must be 50 or so, I think she’s great. Full of energy.”
And so it is that, as the younger Royals garner the attention and adulation of royal fashion fans everywhere, the creative genius of the Chanel couture house reminds us all of the beauty and elegance of the women that came before them.