When news broke (courtesy of the Daily Mail) that Karl Lagerfield may or may not have an estranged sister residing in a small town in Connecticut, I was skeptical. Lagerfield himself has famously said he does not have a family — which could be code for "doesn't talk to his family" — and some of the details are fuzzy. But the rumor did make me wonder what other interesting dirt exists in the world of fashion design.
I'll admit, I'm a sucker for a good, useless fact about anything. I've found that so many things in world make sense once you learn the smallest detail. For instance - Alexis Bledel hates coffee. Every scene of Rory Gilmore drinking coffee on Gilmore Girls was actually Diet Coke. Game. Changer. Or how about the fact that Sarah Jessica Parker and Kim Cattrall (aka Carrie and Samantha) actually didn't get along during Sex and the City. Makes you question that whole maid-of-honor begging thing, right?
So, inspired by Karl's allegedly long-lost sister, I started researching some weird facts about my favorite designers. And I uncovered a few hidden, dark secrets that suddenly explained a few of their questionable decisions (style and otherwise) as well as how their brands progressed and changed over time. Take a look at some interesting deets you may have not known about these legendary designers, their companies, and their personal lives.
Karl Lagerfeld + Sister?
The long-time creative director of Chanel and fashion icon has famously said he doesn't have a family. Turns out, that may not be entirely true. An 83-year-old woman in Portland, Connecticut told Daily Mail that she is Lagerfeld's sister. Christianne Johnson says she's been following her brother's career for decades despite not having seen him since the '70s. She claims not be upset at his absence — he hasn't met her kids or husband — because he's so busy. But anytime he wants to stop by, she's willing to buy the Cokes. 'Kay. That sounds... true.
Giorgio Armani is Not Haute Couture
In order to be called a "haute couture designer," a fashion designer needs to be approved by The Chamber of Syndicale, which is like a governing body concerning the fashion world in Paris. The chamber has only approved 14 fashion houses to call themselves haute couture. Among those not approved: Giorgio Aramani. Don't worry, Armani, you're still couture in my book.
Louis Vuitton tried to Sue Chewy Vuitton
Dog toy brand Hate Diggoty-Dog made a chew toy for dogs called "Chewy Vuitton." Louis tried to sue for trademark infringement, but the court did not rule in his favor. Maybe that's why we have't seen any animal products or clothes for pets by the famous brand, despite the fact that celebs love to stick their dogs in LV monogrammed handbags.
Hubert de Givenchy was 6'6"
Of course, Givenchy made his rise to fame with the help of Audrey Hepburn, his muse, and that LBD she wore. But Givenchy was first known in Paris for his height. At 6'6" he towered over most friends. Vogue has reported that's what made him a talent to watch in the fashionable city.
Balenciaga's First Piece of Clothing was for His Cat
Balenciaga designed his first piece of clothing at 6-years-old — it was a coat for his cat! Oh, how this makes me love him even more. The designer allegedly hated how much the cat wanted attention from other humans. What's with designers and their cats, huh?
Tom Ford Can Architect
Tom Ford actually studied architecture at Parsons before hitting it big in the fashion community. A year into his degree, he went to Paris and interned at Chloé's PR firm. There, he discovered fashion was actually his love, but he actually did finish that architecture degree. And look at what it did for his clothes!
Ralph Lauren Studied Business in College
Ralph (Lipschitz) Lauren never formally studied fashion. Instead, he majored in business during college. Not only does this explain his first line — just men's ties — but also how he managed to acquire an entire block in New York City.
Michael Kors <3's Lucky Charms
A year before he designed his mother's wedding dress, Kors starred in a Lucky Charms cereal commercial. Before studying fashion, he actually went to acting school, thinking the trade was his true calling.
Coco Chanel Learned Everything She Knows from Nuns
It's not a secret that Coco Chanel grew up in an orphanage. But the nuns who cared for her at Aubazine Abbey also taught her how to use a sewing machine. I guess we owe them for the Little Black Dress!
We Can Thank Donna Karan for the Bodysuit
Donna Karan started her line in 1984 with only pieces she would wear. These staples included coats, jackets, blouses, skirts and body suits. The body suit quickly became an 80s staple and was still around in the 90s. And not too many years ago, thanks to Lady Gaga, we saw it come back into fashion. So thank you, Donna Karan, for creating the easiest way to safely bend over in low-rise jeans.
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