Manolo says, even from his sick bed, the Manolo he still feels impelled to rise to do battle with evil.
Look at this lengthy article in the New York Magazine, which the Manolo has annotated below for your edification. It is like the horrifying, surreal, opera buffo stage version of the Paradise Lost.
Act One, Scene One. The curtain it raises on the procession of the damned, who shuffle across the stage paying obsequious homage to the Lord of Flies.
First, the aged crones in thrall to evil..
What can one talk about while waiting for Lagerfeld? Lagerfeld, of course. “Karl has the energy of . . . what? Twenty-five thousand Turkish elephants!” says socialite Anne Slater, wearing her big blue glasses and grinning up a storm. “He’s magnetic and powerful. I think he’s absolutely, devastatingly attractive.”
Then, the young slatterns, proud of their debasement…
“Karl is a genius!” exclaims Lindsay Lohan
Next, the handmaidens of Asmodeus, eager to share their shame..
“Karl is the one person that makes me shy,” says throaty Bungalow 8 owner Amy Sacco.
Then, the greater demons, odious, cloven hooved beings who dwell in the lower rings of Hell…
Giorgio Armani, André Leon Talley, Anna Wintour with her pretty daughter, Bee. “A conversation with Karl is not a fashion conversation—it’s a conversation, a conversation that embraces the culture of life,” says Talley.
At last, the minor-key fanfare sounds the approach of Hell’s dark master. The lights dim. Low fog swirls onto the stage, and there! Suddenly! The Arch-Fiend himself!
But then there he is—Karl! His stiff silver tie glitters like a saber. His black leather gloves are good for murder. He poses for the cameras wearing a ghastly grimace, an entourage of twenty Frenchmen and foxes waiting behind.
The grotesque retinue orbits his dim majesty in the danse macabre…
Guests with fingers curled around champagne glasses jostle to catch a glimpse, not quite crying the way they did in Tokyo last year at the opening of the biggest Chanel store in the world, but certainly eager to be entertained. “I think his hair is powdered, like from the 1800s,” says one socialite. “In fact, it is from the 1800s,” titters her friend. Paparazzi are yelling “Karl!” and bystanders are yelling “Karl!” and PETA is yelling “Karl!” the loudest.
Hark! The lone voice in the urban desert, crying out righteousness!
A dreadlocked white guy with Rollerblades slung over his shoulder streaks down the sidewalk and snarls, “Blood for money, that’s what Karl Lagerfeld wants. Karl is greedy! Karl is evil! Karl is wicked! Karl is . . . the devil!”
The guises of Manolo are many!
But, quickly the prophetic cry of warning, it is forgotten…
Lagerfeld is too busy, too smart, and too old to be brought into any foolishness, at least not that which is not of his own making. At 67—or 72, if the 1933 birth date on a baptismal record unearthed by German tabloids is to be believed—he is one of the most professionally self-realized people alive, keeping busy with an incredible twelve or so collections each year, an extensive photography career, a Paris-based bookshop, personal museum-quality furniture collections, the management of six homes, and staying skinny.
67, or 72, or 666? What are the few numbers among the friends?
Lagerfeld lost 90 pounds four years ago on a low-calorie diet—his book on the subject was a best seller in Europe—and has put on ten or so since. The new, skinny Karl is an improved Karl. The creepy fat guy hiding behind a fan has been replaced by a boogying hipster who hangs out with Stephen Gan and Hedi Slimane. “My people are zee cool ones, the rockers,” says Lagerfeld. “I get along with everyone except for men my age, who are bourgeois or retired or boring, and cannot follow the evolution of time and mood.”
The creepy fat guy behind the fan, he has been replaced by the Arch Demon Moloch in tight pants!
His look is an extremely conscious metaphor for his philosophy of fashion and life: Here, watch as I bring together the old, in my tall eighteenth-century collar and bizarre powdered hair, with the new, as seen in my ponytail and $2,500 Agatha leather pants, “the most expensive leather pants in the world,” he declares, with a laugh exactly like Count Chocula’s in its length and ridiculousness.
Count Chocula! In today’s world it is so hard for evil to even be taken seriously.
“In the whole world, there is nowhere I can go,” says Lagerfeld, in a tone that should have him fluttering that old fan. “Everybody has a camera, and it is flash-flash-flash, and I am a puppet, a marionette, Mickey at Disneyland for children to play with. In Japan, they touch me. I have Japanese women pinch my ass, so now I must say, ‘You can have the photo, but please don’t touch me.’ You cannot pinch the ass of a man my age! And I cannot go out without something for my eyes, because someone might throw chemicals in my face,
or Holy Water
and I would be like my childhood French teacher whose wife burnt him with acid, Mr. Pommes-Frites, can you believe the name. I can cross the street nowhere in the world, I can never go into a shop. Oh, it’s horrible, horrible.”
And thus, the curtain for the first act it comes down on the Evil One lamenting his new life: floating on the firey lake that is the modern media celebrity.
P.S. “Demonic Biker Priest?”