Shut Up Karl

You should hide behind that fan Karl Lagerfeld, shame on you, for calling Adele ‘a little bit fat’. Who are you? What is the point of saying that? What are you trying to prove? Why are you trying to cut a bitch down? Shame shame shame. Don’t read people as that only leads to being read to and you don’t want to hear that story. You have talked about being bullied, and I am sure you were. I see it, as I was bullied too, and I am disappointed in you, for here you have proven yourself to be quite good at it, and you are the very worst kind – a condescending one.

Adele is nothing less than amazing. She is a true, courageous and rare talent and someone who has captured the attention and the admiration of the world in a seriously short time. She is ALSO a great beauty and tremendously meaningful incandescent wonder. She looks so awesome, her loveliness radiates from her strong and fast spinning interior klieg lights and brightens everything to the degree that it makes even dark, overcast me feel luminous and fierce and worthy.  That’s what a light like her does. She lights up our life. She is beaming through the clouds and bringing you the sun. Fuck you if you can’t realize that. Fuck you and your fucking glasses. Take them off for a second and see the goddamn light. Self tanner doesn’t give you no vitamin D. You need sun.

Adele sings and I wish I could sing like that, and I do, in the shower. I wonder if i could look like her. Maybe 20 years ago that could have been me. Maybe I am beautiful after all. Maybe everyone was wrong about me. Maybe I am going to be loved. Maybe I’ll be happy someday. Maybe, yes. Maybe.

It sounds complex because it is terribly complex, but curiously simple and plain. When you see someone you identify with, who has a body that could be your body, and you recognize it on the screen because you remember it from the mirror and you watch them shine and conquer and overcome and overwhelm and startle and take over the world, you think you can do the same. It gives you strength. It’s powerful, indescribably so. A star like her – we haven’t had someone like that for a while. She’s been desperately needed. Where you been all our lives Adele? I am just glad you’re here.

Adele changes the game and all the rules. She makes a generation of women, young and old, want to play. She makes us feel like we could win, we could actually win this time. Finally, we have our eyes on the prize. When she’s on the cover of a magazine, I buy it right then and there. She doesn’t look like the girls who are always on the cover of a magazine. She looks better, and all the more so because she really fucking deserves to be there.

Why are you trying to tarnish that? why are you trying to spit on her success and fame? Its ugly. It’s uncouth and unfair. And I know that you, as you have the kind of face and frame easily run to fat – its familiar as I have the same – I know you’ve struggled. I have felt for you. You know what it feels like to be judged. Why do it? Because you’ve made it to the other side? Is it better there? Aren’t you hungry? I am, just looking at you. I know to be as thin as you are now, you need to control everything that goes into your mouth every second of every minute of every hour of every day. I wish you were as ardent in controlling what came out of it.

I don’t know why we care what you have to say. We don’t have the luxury to starve for fashion. We have to work for a living. We have double shifts. We carry groceries we can barely buy with our meager salaries up many flights of stairs and feed our children and deal with our children being molested and woefully sometimes bury our children and find a way to live through this, being merely children ourselves. We worry through vocal surgery and survive the silence and still go to gigs and keep from getting hit and if we do, successfully cover the bruises with concealer so we can go to school and to the DMV and SXSW and keep our heads up high while being unloved or loved by the wrong ones and hang in the friend zone as we hang our laundry out to dry and run for the bus and fight for the right to marriage while finalizing painful divorces and try amidst all this to keep going and get by.

When you say we are fat, you murder our grace, and we’ve already lost so much to begin with. We’ve already lost everything, except weight. That we gain steadily, along with self hatred, and all you are doing is adding to our burden, pressing down on the scale with the long toe of your fine, elegantly tassled loafer.

We don’t have millions of dollars to perforate our fat with expensive, experimental injections. We don’t have time to be lightheaded and sick with hunger. We can’t afford fasting clinics in the Swiss Alps or a messianic nutritionist or portion controlled meals wrapped up in white linen and enshrouded in Chanel camellias. We have to pay the rent and pay for gas and if eating is some comfort to us in our difficult lives, let it be so. Just let us be. Let us listen to Adele, who is triumphantly one of us and let us enjoy her and feel like her and think we are her for a moment and be safe in her music and in our heads.

To someone like you or me or Adele or anyone really, to be called fat is the gravest insult, and the injury in yours is that you say she has a beautiful face. How many of us have heard the same thing and suffered more for it? Its not a compliment. It’s like saying ‘my, what a fabulous turd.’ Keep your compliments and condescension to yourself. It doesn’t soften what you know in your heart to be a mighty blow.

You consider yourself to be the authority on style, as you are supposedly style personified but what good is style when you have no class? What good is style when you have no humanity? What good is style when you make us want to kill ourselves? We are dying, Karl. Lots of us are already dead.

Don’t bother apologizing, as I am sure your people, your ‘Team Lagerfeld’ is advising you to do. There is no ‘I’ in team, but if there were, there would be a Tim and a Tam and have you had a Tim Tam? You should. They are real good. What you could do instead of offering an empty apology is design for us, all the regular folks in the world, and really go for it. Make clothes that flatter us, make us feel good about ourselves. Make beautiful things that glorify us but won’t bankrupt our bank accounts or our spirit. Do your job, dummy. Be the sartorial equivalent to Adele’s music. I know you have it in you. There is immeasurable genius behind all your idiocy, behind the ridiculous glasses, within the high perimeter of that starched collar.

If you say it isn’t possible, then you are useless. If you say you can’t do it and that it is our own fault that we can’t be thin enough for your vision, then you are a dismal failure, and you’ve always been one and you always will be.

We are sick of only being able to wear your fragrance. It stinks of selfishness and stupidity and lack of effort and frankly, that is beneath you, because honestly, I know you try, just like we try. We are all trying Karl, but I am asking you to try harder. With your prodigious means and power, you could change things for the better, for generations to come. But if you don’t want to now, then you probably won’t ever, which is sad and wasteful of your lavish gifts and a precious opportunity lost. If you want to be that way then flap that fan until you take flight and fill the thin air with your antique birdsong – out of earshot, so we can listen to Adele in peace.

I know he apologized but I still think this is a good piece of writing and truly worth reading. I was a little late responding because I was so angry!! As I wrote, I was crying and clenching and unclenching my jaw and my asshole at the same time. It would have been nice for someone else I guess but unfortunately I was alone. Fashion just hurts my feelings all the time. I love his work, even though it never fits me and I can’t even get my arms in a beautiful white silk sequin pantsuit I have of his I bought on ebay. I keep it and I look at it and I am enraged but I can’t fucking throw it out because it is so nice. I have a bunch of clothes of his like that. It is sick. Ok, I am considering his apology. But he needs to make shit we can actually fucking wear.

79 Comments. Add To The Mix…

  1. I mean, Adele is fat. The problem is that Karl Largerfeld is an asshole. When he says that Adele’s fat, it’s not a neutral assessment of her body; it’s a larger statement of her worth. That’s not okay. I can’t speak for Adele, but my body informs the way I interact in the world, but it doesn’t mean that I’m lazy or ugly or “easy” or not worth wearing fabulous clothes.

  2. Any popular designer such as Lagerfeld has no place commenting on body image. Your rant is completely justified, apology or no apology. He should never have made his comment in the first place. I’m surprised you didn’t talk about Noel Gallagher, but I can see now how waaaay back in the 90s, when you were asked by a magazine (I can’t remember which one, but it may have been EW) to choose between Oasis and Blur, and you chose Blur! 🙂

  3. Jenn shut up! I’m fat i weigh 348lbs and wear a size 28. Adele wears a 14 or 16 UK or us I’m not certain but that’s not big. I can’t speak for her so i don’t know if she identifies herself as fat. But I can say she is beautiful and is definitely inspiring.

  4. Good for you Margaret. Thank-You for being a voice for sanity and women all over. You are beautiful and funny and such an amazing role model.

  5. I think you and Adele are BOTH beautiful. Beauty not only comes from your physical appearance but your courage, your talent in your chosen out and speaking for those who can’t speak for themselves. Fuck Lagerfeld. Beauty is not a size 0.

  6. Well said. Very well said indeed. I think you’re bloody marvelous, an inspiration, and a much needed voice that rises above the crowd to be heard, and understood. You are wonderful, in all ways, for always.

    Much Love!

  7. Adele is a voluptuous beauty and a wonderful talent.

    Thank you for the beautifully written rant Margaret.


  8. To clarify, I, too, am fat. It’s not a bad thing. It’s just a thing. Sometimes it’s actually a really great and wonderful thing. I find it important, both personally and politically, to use the word fat without moral judgement.

  9. I think that for anyone to judge anyone is just childish and pointless. Being a “fat” person myself I know how hard it is when someone says anything negative about my body. As far as my opinion on Adele…I think she is very beautiful and very talented. So what she is isnt a size 0…..she has alot going for her….I think that the people who have to put her down are just jealous that they cant be like her and have her talents, cause that girl can sing!!!!!!!! And Margaret….YOU ROCK!!! 🙂

  10. Amazing. What you wrote is absolutely amazing. Your words gave me chills and brought tears to my eyes. Another amazing thing is, I hadn’t heard of you, Adele, or Karl before this incident, and from what I’ve read here, it sounds as though Karl would do well to keep one foot on the other side, lest he lose himself entirely.
    Extreme hugs to you, Margaret!

  11. You are so fucking amazing, and so right on, Margaret!! *bowing to you in the best way.* Karl Lagerfeld is a hippocrite and condescending a-hole. Thank you for this!!! You should totally work this in to your performance.

  12. I can’t imagine anyone looking at Adele and thinking ‘fat’. Curvy, voluptuous, stunning, a million other things but not fat. She makes me think of the classic paintings and statues, soft flawless curves, timelessly gorgeous.

    I love this post, and the fierce, righteous anger in it. Every word is right on the money. And more designers should make clothes that all women can enjoy, wear, and afford.

  13. i love you guys. thanks for all your wonderful words. it’s so fantastic to be heard and felt.

    i am still so mad at karl. i just found this quote from him. i remember when he said this. i had bought that jumpsuit – a lot of money and it was vintage!

    “No one wants to see curvy women. You’ve got fat mothers with their bags of chips sitting in front of the television and saying that thin models are ugly.”

    i hate him.

    and i love you.


  14. I agree with all of the above, esp. @Jenn. I think you are giving this fashion Nazi TOO much power w/ the word FAT to be honest. It should be used just for descriptive purposes and not with the poison that the fan man intended. He maybe make beautiful clothes BUT has deviated from the initial brand “mission” of Chanel choosing to design for ‘sample size” over fashion creativity for the beauty in a variety of sizes. All the forementioned reflects Lagerfeld’s deep insecurity and aren’t worthy of our attention than a casual rolling of the eyes.

  15. P.S. Adele is Lovely and sooooo talented and I’m so glad she is taking this as we all should…with a grain of salt. Love you Cho.

  16. I was angry and ranting about something else today and then I read your post. I was already angry and it just feeds my indignation. It brings out my proletarian side. I hate rich people, I admit it. and I don’t like successful people very much either, except you. Because they are casually cruel to those of us who struggle every damn day. You really spoke for a lot of people with that post and I wish you would just tell that jackass to go to hell with his apology. Don’t give in to your good heart this time. Screw him!! I am sure his apology is completely economically motivated, he could give a rat’s ass about Adele or you. I really can’t stand people in the fashion industry that seem to think the world is all about them. They deserve our derision.

  17. I love you Margaret! Thank you for always defending true beauty. It’s not just something you say you stand for. When things are wrong, you say something and speak out for us every single time, with strong words of truth and amazing conviction. What you wrote was awesome and beautiful. I can relate to the painful place that your anger is coming from, and I couldn’t agree more with everything you wrote.

    Adele and you both bring light to this world, and we do desperately need way more people like that. Thank you for constantly reminding us to love ourselves and each other without reservation. You are a special voice among a sea of others trying to drill the opposite messages into out head.

    You are so right that silence = nonexistence. Keep being your fab, fierce, beautiful self! You are an inspiration!

  18. I love everything you’ve said, Margaret. I don’t mind being called fat, because I am–it’s a descriptive term for me. What I resent–and what I think you’ve addressed–is how too many people use it as a derogatory term that is meant to devalue and demean. I’m a high school teacher, and when I said I was fat, my students were at first shocked, then said I wasn’t (bless their sweet hearts). I had to explain to them the word fat as a descriptor (it’s not ‘good’ or ‘bad’–it is wht it is), then explain that unfortunately, too many people have given it a judgement value. Thank you for writing this.

    What if we sent Lagerfield a bucket of chicken?

  19. You are a wonder and pure inspiration! Your post is magnificent, thank you so much for being the amazing person you are.

  20. Bravo!!

    Adele rescued my mushroom riddled brain from a horrible trip once. I was sat on the loo, which I’d been on for an hour and losing the will to live wondering why I took them in the first place when I heard “…someone like yoooouuuuu!” coming through the window from a car outside and her voice caressed my soul and brought me back down to earth and everything was good. <3

  21. If KL was not a rich, talented bazillionaire, he would be ALONE, oiling his old man joints with the greasy sebum squeezed from his enlarged pores. He mentioned in Vice magazine that he prefers prostitutes. I have nothing against that because we all gotta make a living and we all gotta fuck. However, this is a man who eschews any form of meaningful contact and is as close to a robot as you can get. He’s only apologizing because someone told him to. He doesn’t give a fuck about Adele’s feelings. He doesn’t give a fuck. Period. I used to be amused by the stupid things/anecdotes that fell out of his mouth. Now I wish him great harm. I wish him revolting ugliness and disfiguration. I hope he suffers, wishes he were human and dies a shit smelling robot (Chanel No. I Should Have Died, Not Yves).

  22. In response to the Karl quote RE: fat mothers and potato chips: I’d rather hang out and watch TV with a “fat” mom with chips and soul and character than a superficial designer who, no matter what he weighs or looks like, ends up being ugly because of his attitude and lack of compassion.

  23. And the word fat was supposed to be in quotes in my post…didn’t come out…I wonder what mothers he thinks are fat….probably anyone who doesn’t look like they could hold gravy in their concave cheekbones.

  24. I am 27, and have been fat since around age 5. around age 11-12 I tried desperately to fit into fashionable things because I wanted to fit in with the popular kids. I never even came close. But I started to realize that popularity in my school was not based on clothes, it was how much you could drink, do drugs, and have sex. (which is ok in moderation as adults, but bad for kids.) I realized the ugly side of popularity and decided I was fine being me as long as I was happy.

    Karl Lagerfeld exemplifies the “ugly” in fame. His spirit is so polluted, his body so devoid of compassion (and flesh, he’s a walking skeleton) that even though his clothes are beautiful, they too have an “ugly” undertone by excluding such truly beautiful people from wearing them. You, Adele, and lots of other people stand up and say “its ok to be you.” You don’t need tiny vintage white sequin pantsuits to be beautiful. Your beauty shines through any fabric because you, unlike Lagerfeld, have not poisoned and compressed your body into almost non-existence.

    You be you Ms. Cho, that’s all you really need.

  25. His apology was SO weak too! He was referring to Lana Del Rey? Now *she’s* fat?? WTF, Karl?! Why people think it’s acceptable to comment on the weight & appearance of other’s is beyond me. Seems like \fat\ is the last acceptable category open for bullying. We have become such a cruel society obsessed with appearance, when will we learn that beauty comes in all sizes, shapes, colors, ages & genders?

    I applaud you as always for speaking your truth so eloquently, Margaret. Thank you.

  26. greetings ms. cho — love this entry for different reasons even though you went off the hook above. perhaps, i love this because it reminds me of all of the hateful and bigoted gay men and women with whom i’ve had the displeasure of having in my life over the past decade. yet, then i wonder, miss cho — as someone who has not really liked their work as a band, as a group, as a team, as a “family” felch — i always wondered….how people ate their hateful and bigoted garbage that was predetermined as actually disliking so many other people while feigning concern for “goodness”. thus, if he made this comment it doesn’t come as surprise. after all, as someone who has worked and lived in different parts of asia for the purpose of intercultural exchanges, i am surprised at the extent of apparent anti-asian sentiment (or the ignorance toward plenty of others) by comments made through this group. what can be expected from sloth?? thus, body politics — tragic but true. however, i must ask — is any of this a surprise when such hateful and bigoted productions have taken front and center for general entertainment?? strange to defend so much about a place that i love and know beyond the vulgar and trashy presentation that was co-opted by a gathering of trolls that preferred a pedophile conference in a backroom in manila. thus, none of this surprises me, but your post was beautifully poignant. yet, ask yourself — why do people eat garbage for years and then complain when they have chronic indigestion?? LOVE and peace be with you.

  27. I came here via Jezebel.

    This piece is fucking fabulous, Ms Cho! As I was reading it, I kept hearing it in my head as if it were being read at a poetry slam. The language IS that good and that powerful.

    You are awesome, and thank you for expressing what needs to be said to every fucking fancy-pants “designer” out there. Honestly, if you can’t design for anyone except sample models, then what the fuck good are you>

  28. You’re gorgeous, Cho! I hope you know that. And I’m sure you know you’re fucking hilariously articulate.

  29. Adele is a SINGER, not a FASHION MODEL. And she (we) deserve clothes just as beautiful as they do.

  30. Thank you for this! Although it made me bawl like I haven’t in quite some time, it was feeling so many familiar pains and emotions, I’m so glad I read it! You’re a beautiful writer.

  31. i am going to keep this in my wallet, on my notebook, and in my mind forever. “When you see someone you identify with, who has a body that could be your body, and you recognize it on the screen because you remember it from the mirror and you watch them shine and conquer and overcome and overwhelm and startle and take over the world, you think you can do the same.”

    This is so right on. thank you.

  32. Honey, it’s self-abuse to torment yourself with clothes you can’t wear. Take that white blouse and get it altered by someone really creative or give it to some roller derby friends who will quickly DIY it for you. You’re that gorgeous, you deserve it.

    And thank you for writing this.

  33. It is so hard to grasp anything solid around the vague horrible cloud of fear-of-fatness/self-loathing that imprisons earth’s women but girl you have a gift, certainly as big as Adele’s, at doing that. Your rage at that gray faced fucker Karl, I am sorry if it sucks to feel that but please just keep bringing it! I am grateful! Every heartfelt outpouring on this is so rejuvenating to read! Dispels infinite bullshit! I can barely stop with the exclamation points

    Thank you.

  34. Oh Margaret. You are fierce and brave and your rawness here is a thing of beauty to behold. You’re refusing to be careful, refusing to be complacent. You’ve absolutely ripped yourself open in the past few months and spilled your angry, fed-up guts–devoured by the hungry eyes of those of us aching for a belligerent badass to take on the status quo from a high enough purchase to be heard.

    I celebrate your anger and I echo your sentiments in a thousand ways. There is one, however, that I’m struggling with. You said:

    “…or anyone really, to be called fat is the gravest insult…”

    I know this is the case for many. Many more, I fear, than not. And throughout your article there is a vein of apology, a thread of belief – that time, money, energy – that these things in short supply both create and sustain a fat body, and that, having more of any or all would shift a body down the scale naturally. That is the bit I disagree with. There have always been, there will always be, fat bodies. The trouble is not with the bodies themselves, but with the subjective and arbitrary assignments of value, with our shifting ideologies, with our moral panics and our mind-numbing need to belong.

    It seems to me that the acknowledgment of fat is at issue here, that the explicit acknowledgment is the insult, that to name a thing is to call it to attention and that to call it to attention is to force all parties to acknowledge its inherent shamefulness. And it is this idea that I reject.

    I will not feel shame when a bigot tries to bully me with simple adjectives. Fat holds no more power than human, than female, than young, old, tall, short, breathing, spitting, choking, fighting – all adjectives. All only containing the connotations we allow them to have, all social contracts that we may choose to break at any time. Fat does not rob me of my grace any more than the acknowledgment of it does and no single descriptor alone can rob me of all others save I let it. Save we all let it. Consensus, cohesion, to move it forward, to reject the idea that a narrow man who dresses hangers could contribute any greater value to the world than any of us with our thick thighs, our jiggling arms, our willful bellies that refuse to be anything but round. Consensus, cohesion, to move past the idea that correlation = causation, that fat bodies form from either too little (time, money, movement) or too much (food, idleness, shame) and that a shift in any would shift us all.

    Please don’t ache for me, Margaret. I am not insulted. I am not harmed. I am, if anything, simply more determined to keep reminding us that we needn’t be shameful, that power is not something some have and others don’t, that it’s bubbling beneath the surface of everything, that we can shift it in a moment if only we’ve a mind to, if only we know that we can, if only we do it together.

    Thank you for your ferocity, for your bravery and your voice.

    With so much love,

  35. “Why do you want to tarnish that?”
    Well said Margaret.
    She’s sold about 6 million records, and is gorgeous.
    She’s going to cart home a bunch of Grammys
    Shut the F up Karl.

  36. If Adele were a man, would we be having this discussion? No. We’d all be talking about Whitney Houston right now. This a double standard in our country. John Goodman has been fucking HUUUUGE for YEARS, Kunty Karl has not said a word. Women who are thin are worthy, women who are not (BUT are NORMAL) are not worthy. I’ve been both thin and fat, and I was a sick miserable bitch when I was thin. I don’t want to wear his fucking clothes. He’s a pathetic asshole and I’d rather wear something I found in the middle of the damn street, that buy his crap.

  37. That was easily the most perfect piece of writing I have read in a long time and I can only hope Karl gets a chance to read it. He could learn a lot from your wisdom. -Thank You

  38. When I look at adele I don’t see a fat woman. when I look at most people I don’t see a fat anybody.
    Why is when people see someone they think of such a thing?
    Always judging something about someone else.

    when I see Adele, i see an amazing voice and a beautiful spirit. But I have never seen fat.

    Geez people need to stop focusing on negative and start seeing what truly matters, a persons positive aspects. Their beauty and life essences, not their waist lines and flaws.

    Our world would be a much better place if instead of naturally forming a negative opinion, we started with a positive.

  39. Thank you for expressing yourself so honestly, in a way that says exactly what so many of us *feel* but cannot verbalize as we are constantly bombarded with cultural messages (often far more subtle than KL’s idiotic remark) that it is anyone’s right to judge another person based on the size or shape of her (or his) body.

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