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Karl Lagerfeld Needs To Stop Talking About Plus-Size Women

Posted by on November 7, 2013

If you follow fashion at all, you probably know the name Karl Lagerfeld.

The German-born fashion personality is probably most well-known for serving as the creative director and head designer for Chanel, but he is also the creative director of Fendi and the lead designer of his own fashion house.

Karl Lagerfeld

Lagerfeld is a fixture next to Parisian runways. Credit: @KarlLagerfeld Twitter

Now, while Lagerfeld, 80, certainly can make a pretty dress, his contributions to the fashion community (and I would even say the human race) pretty much end there. The designer is not someone within the fashion industry who should be held up as a role model, especially for young girls who are interested in fashion, and his most recent comments about “curvy” women in fashion only serve to solidify that fact.

Lagerfeld published a book in September, “The World According To Karl,” in which the designer opens up about some of his experiences in fashion and some of his…opinions…about the industry. One quote, which is getting a lot of buzz is Lagerfeld’s opinion that, “Nobody wants to see curvy women on the runway.”

PULP Plus size fashion week

Lagerfeld’s comments came just a few weeks after the incredibly successful and much buzzed about PULP Paris Fashion Week which showcased only plus-size women. Credit: Wallace Pixmaker via PULP Paris Fashion Week

Recently, Lagerfeld repeated this sentiment in a television interview on the French chat show Le Grand 8, where he also attributed France’s public health deficit on “fat people” and their illnesses, according to the Daily Mail.

“The hole in social security, it’s also [due to] all the diseases caught by people who are too fat,” said Lagerfeld in his interview.

These comments were so horrendously bigoted that the French women’s group “Belle, Ronde, Sexy et je m’assume” (Beautiful, Rounded, Sexy and fine with it) is suing Lagerfeld.

“We’re sick of it,” Betty Aubrière, the president of “Belle, Ronde,” said to the French News Agency AFP. “There are many young girls who don’t feel comfortable in their skin, and for them to hear comments like that is terrible for them. Today it’s [Lagerfeld] who finds us offensive. Who will it be tomorrow?”

Stephanie Zwicky

Stephanie Zwicky is a well-known French plus-size blogger who proves Lagerfeld’s comments wrong everyday. Credit: Stephanie Zwicky

Aubrière and “Bell, Ronde” hope that the lawsuit will teach Lagerfeld to be a little more judicious in his speech and open up a commentary about bullying. Aubrière hopes to end bullying by advocating for more awareness in schools, “so that people understand that curves are often due to an illness or genetic, and not due to a poor diet,” said Aubrière, according to the Huffington Post.

This isn’t the first time Lagerfeld has made negative comments about plus-size women.

In February 2012, the designer called Adele fat in an interview with the newspaper Metro France. “She is a little too fat, but she has a beautiful face and a divine voice,” said Lagerfeld in his interview before criticizing Lana del Rey for having implants (because apparently he’s an equal opportunity body-shamer).

Adele responded to these comments with her usual level of class saying, “I’ve never wanted to look like models on the cover of magazines. I represent the majority of women and I’m very proud of that,” when asked about Lagerfeld in an interview.

Lagerfeld later apologized for these comments, but his recent remarks make that apology seem very hollow.

Beth Ditto, the unapologetically fat, fashionable punk rocker, called Lagerfeld out in an interview she did with Vulture in 2012 right after this debacle: “First of all, Karl Lagerfeld is not even sane. Second of all, he’s not the end-all, be-all of what he does. He’s really talented, but that doesn’t mean he’s right. Third, Karl Lagerfeld used to be this really fat, eccentric dude. He always had that fat kid fan with him, too. To me, only a person who was fat could get away with saying something like that,” said Ditto in her interview.

Ditto is referring to Lagerfeld’s weight-loss in the early 2000’s, when the designer lost almost 100 pounds. Lagerfeld is clearly dealing with some body image issues himself and that does not make him a bad person. However, as a public figure, especially a figure in the fashion industry, many other outlets look to him as the pinnacle of style, which makes him responsible for the millions of women that he is affecting with his words.

I’m certainly not going to buy his book. What do you think of Lagerfeld’s comments? Do you think that his comments are disrespectful?

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