Following Karl Lagerfeld's passing on Tuesday, many individuals paid tribute to the prolific designer who remarkably changed the fashion landscape throughout his 65-year career. In his post as Chanel and Fendi's Creative Director, in addition to overseeing his own eponymous line, Lagerfeld's pragmatic yet innovative understanding of fashion was arguably insurmountable. However, his legacy is surely tainted by the misogynistic and offensive opinions he expressed about women.
On Wednesday, actress Jameela Jamil took to Twitter to confront the legion of those mourning the late designer, calling him a "ruthless, fat-phobic misogynist." Although the body positive activist acknowledged that sharing this opinion may be premature, she challenged the narrative that he was a "saint gone-too-soon."
After receiving criticism in the comments section of her post, Jamil wrote a follow up, briefly noting how "problematic" the fashion industry has been for girls.
Her comments drew a response from one of Lagerfeld's muses and close friends, Cara Delevingne, who respectfully challenged Jamil's stance on the designer's legacy. The two then engaged in a civil debate over how to best confront the offensive commentary he often shared.
As the two women discussed, Jamil argued that Delevingne's stance reflects her privilege as a thin, white woman. Jamil then explained that excusing the late-designer's opinions because they're symptoms of the fashion industry is like dismissing Harvey Weinstein's actions because the real problem is Hollywood as a whole. Delevingne then explained that she finds the comparison to be unwarranted and that she is currently grieving the loss of someone close to her.
Both Delevingne and Jamil were respectful of one another throughout the debate, ending the conversation on a 'agree to disagree' note.
The legacy that Lagerfeld left behind is surely a complicated one. While he was undoubtedly talented, the way in which he spoke of women was also archaic and insulting. During a 2018 interview, the designer claimed to be "fed up" with the #MeToo movement. “It’s unbelievable. If you don’t want your pants pulled about, don’t become a model," Lagerfeld said. "Join a nunnery, there’ll always be a place for you in the convent. They’re recruiting even!”