We Asked Karl Lagerfeld to Share His Favorite Things. Here’s What He Told Us

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karl lagerfeld elle decor
From the Archive: Shopping With Karl Lagerfeld Courtesy Lagerfeld

Editor’s Note: For the September 2012 issue of ELLE DECOR, we checked in with Karl Lagerfeld, the prolific designer behind Fendi, Chanel, and his eponymous label. Like his signature black and white attire, the designer was decisive (and sometimes derisive) in his observations about everything from fashion to celebrity to culture more broadly. When we spoke with Lagerfeld, it was on the eve of the Paris Biennale des Antiquaires, a now-defunct fair of art and antiques, where the designer was invited to create the scenography. He passed away in 2019 and is now the subject of a monumental new show, Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty, at the the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute. For more stories from our archive, subscribe to ELLE DECOR All Access.

When Karl Lagerfeld agreed to stage this month’s Paris Biennale des Antiquaires, he transformed the venerable antiques fair into a hot ticket. The couturier has always worn many hats—fashion designer for Chanel, Fendi, and his own Karl Lagerfeld label; fine-art photographer; book publisher. But it’s his theatrical persona—snow-white hair, dark glasses, fingerless gloves—that often steals the show. A lifelong collector of furniture and art, he chose to decorate the 26th edition of the Biennale because, he says, “I love the event.” Typically cryptic, Lagerfeld wouldn’t divulge specifics save for one clue: a sketch of a hot-air balloon. We’ll have to wait for the unveiling of the Biennale on September 14 to see his fancies take flight.

Causse Gloves

“The famous story of the iron hand in the velvet glove.”

lizard skin looking gloves
Courtesy of Causse

Chrome Hearts Jewelry

“My heart belongs to Chrome Hearts.”

necklaces with various charms and gold safety pin like charms
Courtesy of Chrome Hearts

Drawing Tools

“Impossible to express my vision without my sketching tools. I draw with Shu Uemura eye shadows, Caran d’Ache pencils, and S. T. Dupont pens.”

fancy drawing tools
Courtesy of Lotus International, S.T. Dupont Distributor for USA

Süe et Mare Art Decor Furniture

“1919–1927, only those years.”

white settee
Courtesy of Downtown, Los Angeles

Hillditch & Key Shirts and Nighshirts

“Night and day—I would never give them away.”

hillditch and key
Courtesy Hillditch & Key


“The three Ps of our times—P as in priority.”

courtesy Apple

Le Grand Palais

“I visited this building with my parents when I was a schoolboy and fell in love with it. At the time it was used for the Salon de l’Automobile.”

topshot fashion france chanel

Klorane Dry Shampoo

“I would die for white hair but I cannot dye my hair, so I have to use the powder.”

klorane dry shampoo
Courtesy Klorane

Moynat Luggage

“The highest-quality luggage—whether you are traveling in an imaginary world or on a private jet.”

brown leather luggage with gold handles
Courtesy of Moynat


“The Louvre, d’Orsay, and Pompidou in Paris; Victoria and Albert in London; the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York.”

re opening continues across densely populated new york and new jersey areas
Alexi Rosenfeld - Getty Images


“Audemars Piguet, Chanel, Rolex, and soon Lagerfeld. I check the time on my iPhone. But watches are so beautiful.”

black chanel watch
Courtesy of Chanel

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