Karl Lagerfeld: Deluded or Just Plain Controversial?

05/02/2012 21:36 GMT | Updated 06/04/2012 10:12 BST

Even whilst heading up Chanel, Fendi and being an all-round style polymath, Karl Lagerfeld thankfully still manages to find time to burp out some preposterous, inflammatory musings from time-to-time. His inability to self-edit is what makes him such a charmingly nefarious fashion patriarch.

Anyway, we're long overdue an outburst from the ugly daughter fearing, fat hater and in true KL style, he just delivered...

In talks about his recently launched 'affordable' KARL line with Vogue's Hamish Bowles, this time he's throwing ad hominem style assertions at the middle classes. Pitched as a cheaper-than-Chanel, pricier-than-his-H&M-collaboration, Unkle K's eponymous new collection caused a-buzz when it went live on Net-a-Porter last week.

When asked by Bowles to explain his decision to pop out a mid-price range Lagerfeld explained, "The middle class has not have enough class, that I think about the middle class."

Okay Karl, so you're on a self-elected crusade to make the 'middle' classier? Does he perceive those mortals not Chanel-clad to be floundering in a style-less sea from which he will rescue us with £245 sequin leggings and £95 cotton totes with his visage silhouetted upon?


Perhaps if Kaiser Karl tweaked the curtains - hell, even taken a stroll out of the ivory towers of Chanel and took a sniff around, he could do well to note this actually, already-quite-stylish-thank-you-very-much 'middle class' of which he patronisingly speaks is in rapid decline globally. His delusion knows no bounds.

As our economies implode under the careful, insidious orchestration by the banksters, the Western 'squeezed middle' tumbles lower and lower down the economic food-chain. The net worth of the middle fifth of American households has plunged by 26% in the last two years and the income of the median American family, adjusted for inflation, is lower now than in 1998.

With fewer and fewer job-prospects for recent graduates, inflation and tax-hikes it's bye-bye bi-annual-holidays - and crucially - disposable clothing income. Alas those halcyon days of a guilt-free £400 credit card splurge on one of your sleeveless biker jackets, Mr L, are long gone.

KARL launched internationally late January to much hype (hyperbole?) including a KARL app, pop-up shops and - hilariously - a 'Find Karl' maze game. One can't help conjure images of the ponytailed octogenarian abandoned and lost amid a labyrinth, desperately searching for his trademark perma-shades. Or something. Anyway, there are some OK pieces in the largely monochrome and silver collection. The black and white Blanca PVC/cotton shirt at £175 and metallic Batya blouse at £145 could well be wardrobe main-stays, but sadly, If this was indeed an attempt to bridge-gap between his H&M and Chanel collections then style-wise it certainly rings closer to the former than latter.

Averaging around £300, the footwear is seriously under-inspired, closer resembling bog-standard Faith/Office heels than anything around their own unjustifiable price. I'll save another £100 for a pair of Louboutins, ta Karl.

There are some seriously preposterous elements, however: most of all the £125 metallic Lagerfeld-esque silver collars. Memo to Karl: young women don't have your multiple-necks which need tucking into giant bespoke collars. Then again, given the faux-leather £70 versions have sold out on net-a-porter, perhaps they do...

The bottom line is thus: if indeed our hero did intend to drag the middle-classes up by the scruff of their necks from sartorial doldrums with KARL, instead of eye-wateringly priced gimmicky items (some, as tasteless as his poorly timed and observed remarks) a few more enduringly stylish pieces wouldn't have gone amiss. After all its hype, bluster and praise, I cannot help feel the lacklustre KARL collection is more emperor's new clothes than the squeezed middle classes.