Multilingual Lagerfeld saw 1920s Germany as ‘spiritual homeland’

German designer Karl Lagerfeld, based in Paris from the 1950s until his death Tuesday, described himself as a "European", hailing the interwar Germany he never knew as a "spiritual homeland" that was destroyed under Nazism.

Multilingual Lagerfeld saw 1920s Germany as 'spiritual homeland'
Lagerfeld on November 22nd, 2018 in Paris. Photo: DPA

German designer Karl Lagerfeld, based in Paris from the 1950s until his death Tuesday, described himself as a “European”, hailing the interwar Germany he never knew as a “spiritual homeland” that was destroyed under Nazism.

Karl Otto Lagerfeld was born in the 1933 in the northern port city Hamburg, the son of a rich industrialist in the food sector.

He lived through the Allied bombings that devastated the city towards the
end of World War II, but also learned French and English from a very young age.

SEE ALSO: Karl Lagerfeld, fashion's quick-witted king, dies aged 85 in Paris

“I was brought up as a European, I spoke three languages at age six:
English, French and German,” he told Gala magazine's German edition in 2014.

After seeing a Dior fashion show in a Hamburg hotel in the early 1950s,
young Lagerfeld decided to become a fashion designer and set off for Paris with his mother's words — “there's nothing to do here, Germany is a dead country” — ringing in his ears.

From then on his life would become focused on France, Italy and the United States.

“For me, Germany is a spiritual homeland where I can take the good from its intellectual life and culture but whose everyday life, its unpleasant, disagreeable and shameful things have nothing to do with me,” he told broadcaster France 3 in 2015 — his French still tinged with a German accent.

'German, but in the old style'

“I'm a typical German, but in the old style, like during the Weimar
Republic, everything which existed before 1933 (when the Nazis seized power),” he told Gala.

“You can keep everything else,” he added.

Lagerfeld later sold the family home in Hamburg, seeing it as “dragging him back to the starting line” of his life, where he could “hear the echo of his parents' voices in the garden”, he told Vanity Fair.

But his “spiritual homeland” was always within arm's reach, as he kept a
whole room in his grand Paris house filled with furniture and paintings dating back to his childhood.

SEE ALSO: 'Vanity is the healthiest thing in life': Karl Lagerfeld in his own words

Another space had walls plastered with advertising posters dating back to
before 1914 and World War 1, while Lagerfeld also collected German periodicals and furniture from the pre-1933 period.

The designer also turned his literary bent to the publishing trade in
Germany, selecting personally the works to come off his house's presses
including unpublished manuscripts by Nietzsche, a biography of Coco Chanel and poetry collections.

SEE ALSO: Where to go in Berlin for a taste of the Weimar Republic

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Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld cremated in France

Fashion legend Karl Lagerfeld was cremated in France on Friday, fulfilling his last wishes following his death this week at the age of 85, the magazine Closer reported.

Fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld cremated in France
2005 file photo of German fashion designer and creative director of Chanel Karl Lagerfeld. Photo: STAN HONDA / AFP
The German designer who had quipped “I'd rather die” than be buried was cremated in Nanterre, west of Paris, in the presence of Virginie Viard, who succeeds him as creative director at Chanel, Princess Caroline of Monaco and Bernard Arnault, head of the luxury group LVMH, Closer said on its internet site.
A spokeswoman for the Lagerfeld fashion house had told AFP only that “his wishes will be respected”. 
Lagerfeld's ashes are to join some from Jacques de Basher, his great love who died of AIDS in 1989.
Lagerfeld had told de Bascher's biographer Marie Ottavi that some of his ashes were being stored “somewhere secret. One day they will be added to mine.”