KARL LAGERFELD – kaiser of fashion, design institution, barometer of style – turns 80 today. The Chanel and Fendi helmer will enter an exclusive club of 80-year-old stars – all still working and evolving in their respective genres – including Joan Collins, Michael Caine, Joan Rivers and Yoko Ono.
So why haven’t you heard before about the (not usually shy and retiring) designer’s landmark birthday? Well, birthdays are a funny thing where Lagerfeld is concerned. He has been evasive to say the least about his birthday – initially flatly denying that he was born in 1933, as had been rumoured, but also declining to reveal his real birthdate. Later, he conceded that he was born in 1935 – happy to be in his advanced years but preferring, it seems, to be younger than Giorgio Armani, who turns 80 next year – although still older than Diane von Furstenberg who has three years to wait; a veritable spring chicken. Designer Yves Saint Laurent, had he lived, would only have been 77 this year.
It was later revealed however, by diligent journalists from German newspaper Die Welt investigating the birth records in Hamburg where he was born, that the baptismal records show that he was in fact born in 1933. Sorry Karl.