Andy Warhol famously quipped, “I love Los Angeles, and I love Hollywood. They’re beautiful. Everybody’s plastic, but I love plastic. I want to be plastic.” One of his famous counterparts, Karl Lagerfeld, left us earlier this week for the great Hollywood beyond. It’s also been famously quipped that what Warhol was to the art world, Lagerfeld was to the fashion world—an icon, an original, and a transgressive critic of culture (in Lagerfeld’s case, a critic also of Pippa Middleton and French politics).
Lagerfeld slayed those starched collars, ponytails and sunglasses, as though he had the copyright to each. He was the savior of failing high couture houses, a Queen-maker (Claudia Schiffer and Ines de la Fressange come to mind) and— a bona fide lover of Apple gear. So much did he love his Apple products that one could imagine him riffing on Warhol and saying, “Everybody’s aluminum, but I love aluminum. I want to be aluminum.”
At last count, Lagerfeld had hundreds of iPods—his entire music collection was digitized to fill those sleek, seductive, obsolete bits of aluminum. “I have some white ones, but lots of metallic pinks and blues,” he once told U.K.’s Daily Telegraph. He also had somewhere within the vicinity of thirty iPads and four iPhones. Let’s also not forget that custom-made gold Apple watch—allegedly the first Apple watch, and one especially made for Lagerfeld in 2015, the year the product first launched. His iPads he used as diaries, and one can imagine that his four iPhones were for contacts in each of the countries whose languages he spoke—German, English, French and Italian.
The reason behind his obsession with Apple is anybody’s guess, but perhaps it would be useful to note that the tech giant isn’t really about tech, it’s about design—like Lagerfeld. Products have a built-in obsolescence (like fashion), and often Apple is about style over substance (barring increasingly great camera specs). The iPhone X and its later iterations come to mind. Style over substance-wise, the phone is not unlike Lagerfeld losing weight just to fit into a trim, high fashion gym suit.
A YOUNG KARL LAGERFELD IN THE GYM - AMAZING. pic.twitter.com/i4jtFl4eqg— NEO 10Y, also Nik (@nikthakkar) May 30, 2013
What else, after all, could you expect from someone who could speak 4 languages, quote Rilke, direct Chanel and Fendi, and provide scathing takedowns of average-looking society princesses.
Will there be a next Karl Lagerfeld? Who really knows. But like the next iPhone, iPad, and Apple watch, his legacy will go on and on and on. And on.