Fashion icon and designer Karl Lagerfeld, who died Tuesday at the age of 85, had a lot of books.
“I hate leisure, except reading,” he once told Women’s Wear Daily.
And he walked the walk. He had an extensive library that included over 300,000 volumes in four different languages. His personal library is houses in a special room, but is so full, the books had to be stacked horizontally to fit more on the ample shelves.
My Modern Met visited the creative director of Fendi and Chanel at home in 2016:
Lagerfeld’s rows and rows of books line the walls of his home, requiring a catwalk to access the upper parts of the stacks. Because of their landscape orientation, he doesn’t have to tilt his head to read the titles, meaning he can breeze towards the book that he really wants.
In 2005, Lagerfeld took Vanity Fair’s “Proust Questionaire” and revealed that he especially loved to read poetry in their original languages. “I like poets best, E. Dickinson (English), R. M. Rilke (German), Mallarmé (French), Leopardi (Italian). I speak no other languages and I don’t believe in translated poetry.” In the same piece, he said that “Virginia Woolf’s Orlando” was his favorite fictional character.
There is some speculation about who will inherit Lagerfeld’s library. After all, his beloved cat Choupette (shown with Lagerfeld above in an image from his Facebook page), thought to be his main heir, doesn’t read.
Everyone today is writing about Lagerfeld, so we won’t go deeply into his deeds and misdeeds (and in 85 years, he managed to rack up a lot of both), but we’d be remiss if we didn’t point you at an amusing round up from the National Post of the designer’s “Most cutting insults.” There are a lot of them, and they’re here. We thought to include just one, but it’s difficult to choose. ◊