Karl Lagerfeld & Tom Ford in 24 hours
March 22, 2012 § 1 Comment
8:00 A.M. I sleep seven hours. If I go to bed at two, I wake up at nine. If I go to bed at midnight, I wake up at seven. I don’t wake up before—the house can fall apart, but I sleep for seven hours. I wear a long, full-length white shirt, in a material called poplin imperial, made for me by Hilditch & Key in Paris after a design of a 17th-century men’s nightshirt I saw at the Victoria and Albert Museum.
The first thing I do when I get up, I have breakfast. I have two protein shakes made for me by my doctor–they have a chocolate taste and no sugar, of course—and steamed apples. That’s all. I don’t like anything else in the morning. I never drink anything hot; I don’t like hot drinks, very strange. I drink Diet Coke from the minute I get up to the minute I go to bed. I can even drink it in the middle of the night, and I can sleep. I don’t drink coffee, I don’t drink tea, I drink nothing else.
I do most of my reading in the morning. I have a special canopy for that, near the window, where I can see the Louvre and the Seine. I only read, look at books, and sketch. And daydream—daydreaming’s important too. At night there are the dreams too, but I don’t have too many. I read the French, English, and some American papers, some German papers, Women’s Wear—quite a lot. I read on paper; I prefer that.
11:00 A.M. I have my hair done because I hate to have hair in my face when I sketch. My hair is not really white; it’s kind of grayish, and I don’t like the color. So I make it totally white with Klorane dry shampoo. That is the best thing to do because my hair is always clean.
12:00 P.M. I don’t get dressed and take a bath until lunchtime because I am doing a dirty job, painting with colors. So I wear my long nightshirt; it becomes kind of like a painter’s smock, then it goes to the laundry. I have everything—sheets and nightshirt and robes—changed every day. I like everything to be washable, myself included. I like antique lace, antique sheets, beautiful quilted covers, but everything is white. In white you can hide nothing. Most people don’t use this kind of sheets and things because it’s very difficult and very expensive for the upkeep. But it’s such a pleasure to go to bed in the evening in a beautiful bed with beautiful sheets and beautiful pillows, everything flawless, in a freshly pressed, long white smock. It’s perfect.
When I’m ready, I soak in the bathtub, if you really want to know. I used to have a product I loved, by Shu Uemura, but they don’t make it anymore, so I found a French product that softens the water; it’s a hundred years old. I put half a bottle in the bathtub. I exercise very little because my doctor said it’s not necessary. I did a lot when I was very young, and all you do when you’re young stays. So it’s not the problem as with people who started later. I’m very flexible; I have no problems.
My latest uniform is actually two looks—a special jacket with tails made by Dior, but not what you wear for weddings. I have them made in tweed and things like this. Then I have another jacket I love from the new Dior men’s collection that I bought five of, so people think I wear the same thing every day, but in fact it’s never the same thing. And then I wear jeans; at the moment they are from my new collection. They are dark gray with my face, my profile, printed in black on them, but you really have to look at it to see it. My dressing room is so full that I can only wear what I see on top of all the racks. I still have all my clothes from 10 years ago from Dior, but I think I will give them back to Dior for the museum. I have pieces that are unique pieces that I will never wear again, because life is different now, you know. I used to fax a lot, but people don’t have faxes anymore.
I never have lunch, but when I do, I ask them to bring it to me in the house. I actually have two houses. This house here, it’s only for sleeping and sketching, and I have another house two-and-a-half meters away for lunch and dinner and to see people, and where the cook is and all that. I don’t want that here. Even if the place is huge, I want to be alone. If I want something, I call them, and they’re next door, they come. The studio is next door, the office is next door. If I have guests and butlers, I don’t want them in my house. Everything is next door.
4:00 P.M. I have two drivers and several cars. I have a driver who in the morning does the shopping for me and brings the newspapers, and another one, Sébastien, who is also my secretary, who is free in the morning and works in the afternoon and late in the evening. On my way to the Chanel studio, I like to look around, I like to look at Paris. I never get tired of Paris. A lot of people are on the phone all the time; they don’t see anything anymore. It’s true. I like to watch. I go from here to Galignani, my favorite bookshop, and then to Chanel, and then to Colette, and sometimes to the Dior men’s shop. I don’t go to too many shops.
5:00 P.M. I arrive at the studio very late in the afternoon because I want the première to stay in the workroom with the workers during the day. If they are in the studio with me, they don’t supervise the work. I go there from five to eight, half-past eight. I’m very quick and organized. The way I sketch, the way I work, I prefer to do all my work in the evening or in the morning and during the weekend, and I send everything on the iPhone. I’m not there in the studio draping—I don’t do those things. My work is very conceptual.
9:00 P.M. Dinner depends on the day. I don’t go out that much because I’m always late, and I’m so busy and so pleased with what I’m doing that I’m not really ready for a social evening. That’s over—the people I was going out with are dead or don’t exist anymore. Sometimes I go to La Maison du Caviar, but most of the time I have dinner in the Rue des Saints-Pères house and come home after that. I hate the word routine. What I hate most is when you have to look at your watch and get in a hurry to change for dinner, if you have an important dinner. Every dinner is important; you should never be without a dinner, but this I’m a little tired of. I did a lot of it in my life.
To unwind, it depends on how tired I am. Sometimes I read a little bit. Lately, I play with my cat, Choupette. The cat always stays home, and when I leave, the maid takes care of her. The cat is like a very refined object; she doesn’t go into the street, and she doesn’t go to other places. She is a spoiled princess.
As told to Kristina O’Neill
4:30 A.M. I never really sleep much and often start my day at this time. When I am very lucky and sleep through the night, I might get up at 7:00, but that is rare. The first thing I do when I get out of bed is weigh myself. I do this every morning, and if I have gained more than two or three pounds, I try to eat fruit and vegetables exclusively for a couple of days until my weight is back to my ideal. I make myself a tall glass of iced espresso (I don’t like warm drinks), get into a hot bath, and slowly sip my drink as I come to life. Often I lie in the tub for a half hour and just let my mind wander. I find a bath meditative and usually prepare myself for the day in this manner. Once out of the tub, I throw on my gym clothes.
8:00 A.M. Typically, I answer my e-mails. On average, I get about 100 per day. Then I do a bit of work before working out with my trainer at 8:00. The home page on my computer is set to the Daily Beast Cheat Sheet, an excellent summary of the news of the day from different publications around the world. I work out at a gym at home with Pilates equipment, cardio equipment, and free weights. I usually do about 30 to 45 minutes of cardio and then a half hour of crunches, push-ups, stretching, and other exercises using my own body weight, as I can tend to bulk up quickly if I use weights more than occasionally.
9:15 A.M. After working out, I have a breakfast of whole-grain muesli or bran cereal, half a banana, and several slices of pineapple. Then I take another bath, this time with soap, and wash my hair. Naturally, I use my own beauty products; I wash my face with either my cream cleanser if my skin feels dry or gel cleanser if my skin feels particularly oily. I then trim my beard and brush my hair into place. I use my daily moisturizer and take my small makeup brushes to touch up any skin blemishes or dark circles with stick foundation (color no. 7). I put on my “uniform”: a white shirt, a dark tie, a gold collar pin, a black or dark-gray single-breasted peaked-lapel suit, and black cap-toed shoes. I wear a variation of this look every day that I am in a city. (My other uniforms are for Santa Fe, Mustique, or a ski resort.)
I carry my computer and other work to the office in one of my black leather bags. Because I rarely walk in London, I never wear a coat. Actually, I tend to walk much more in New York. In L.A. and Santa Fe, I drive. I have a driver in London because I am slightly dyslexic and cannot drive in the U.K.; after all, the traffic runs the opposite way to that in the United States. An International Herald Tribune is always waiting for me; I find it the perfect newspaper for me, quite condensed with a quick global perspective on the news. Reading, or skimming, the paper usually takes me precisely the same time that it takes for me to get from my house to my office. I don’t carry a phone with me because I hate talking on the phone and especially hate talking on cell phones. I do have an iPhone, but I use it primarily for music and as a camera. In an emergency, of course, I use it as a phone. I am not really even sure what my number is. I have an iPad but use it just for reading books or screenplays, and I carry my MacBook Air with me everywhere.
10:00 A.M. I usually arrive at the office by 10:00. I have a weakness for doughnuts and often completely ruin my diet by eating a doughnut or two when I arrive.
As president and CEO of the company, I spend a good bit of my day in business and design meetings. These might be women’s ready-to-wear fittings, men’s fittings, handbag-prototype reviews, footwear fittings, jewelry-design meetings, cosmetics meetings, or eyewear meetings. I tend to work on several different product categories on the same day. My executive team is scattered around the world, in London, New York, Los Angeles, Milan, Florence, Hong Kong, and Tokyo offices. Consequently, our meetings are often via Skype.
1:00 P.M. I hate going out for lunch during a workday because it slows down my pace and ruins my rhythm. I prefer to eat at my desk. Actually, I wander around the design studio with a plate in my hand as I dine on, for example, salmon sashimi and a salad of tomatoes and mozzarella. I often have a bit of dark chocolate after lunch.
6:00 P.M. Most nights, I work at the office until anytime between 6:00 and 8:00, depending on whether or not I have to go out to dinner. If I do have to go out at night, which I do about four nights a week, I try to take a 45-minute nap, have another hot bath, and put on a clean shirt.
8:00 P.M. I am not someone who likes cocktail parties or large dinner parties, but I have to attend them often. I much prefer very small dinners with close friends. I eat at the same restaurants in London most nights: Scott’s, No. 35, J. Sheekey, Mark’s Club, Harry’s Bar, or Cut at 45 Park Lane. If I am meeting someone for drinks first, I always like to go to the Fumoir at Claridge’s. My favorite evenings are actually spent at home. Richard [Buckley, Ford’s partner of 25 years] is a great cook, and I love dinner in the kitchen with just the two of us and the dogs.
10:30 P.M. When we come home from a night out, Richard and I walk the dogs around Grosvenor Square and then head up to bed. Believe it or not, I usually take another hot bath and wash my face. Then we watch a bit of television (usually things we have recorded) or read and go to sleep. I don’t wear anything in bed. In fact, I rarely wear clothes at all when I am at home.
MIDNIGHT I am usually in bed and with any luck will get a few hours of sleep!