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The iconic designer who behaved like a cartoon villain

Lagerfeld with a bevy of supermodels in 1995. Stephane Cardinale/Sygma/Getty

If internet naysayers are to be believed, says Finn McRedmond in The Irish Times, “the worst party of the year happened on Monday night”. The Met Gala is always panned as a “parade of unhinged A-listers, all trying to look more ridiculous than the last”. But critics claim this year was particularly bad because it was held in honour of the late “fashion behemoth and renowned controversialist” Karl Lagerfeld. To be fair, “it is hard to think of a more cartoonish villain”, what with his fingerless gloves, starched shirts, cravats, dark sunglasses and sleek white ponytail. He so loved Choupette, his cat (“famously the preferred pets of the evil”), that she has her own agent and inheritance. He was routinely derisory of “#MeToo, gay marriage, fat people, women and immigrants”. To modern sensibilities, the iconic designer was the very essence of the “Bad Male” and the tyranny of masculinity.

“Bo-oo-ooring!” What happened to being comfortable with complicated people? Yes, Lagerfeld was “very, very mean”, but he also redefined the world’s greatest fashion houses: Balmain, Chloé, Chanel. And his “purity of vision” was incredible. At the height of the 2008 recession, he “went bigger, more absurd and more exciting” than ever. As every brand around him fretted about their climate credentials, he shipped an entire iceberg from Sweden to Paris. He understood deeply that something as inconsequential as fashion doesn’t have anything to do with morality – it’s there to make people look beautiful. “Lagerfeld should be venerated as great. No one needs to think he was good.”