Lagerfeld says fashion more interesting in tough times

Karl Lagerfeld: Austerity 'not an era of boredom'

Fashion is often more interesting in times of economic weakness, designer Karl Lagerfeld has told the BBC.

Mr Lagerfeld, creative director for Chanel, said this was because designers usually took more risks during challenging periods.

He also said China and other emerging markets are now as important to Chanel as the US.

Mr Lagerfeld added that growing sales in China, Russia and Latin America were offsetting weakness in the West.

"Very often in difficult times fashion is more interesting than in times when everything is too cool, too safe," Mr Lagerfeld told BBC Radio 4's Today programme.

"In a bad moment change is the best thing that can happen."

'Changing world'

Mr Lagerfeld said it was wrong to describe countries such as China as emerging economies because "some of them are doing better than we do".

He added: "America was the most important market, and is still an important market, but this crisis in the world for luxury is a little less dangerous because there is China... the Middle East, the Gulf and all that, and Russia.

"The world is changing and the money is travelling too."

Mr Lagerfeld added that it was important not to bring out special collections for new markets, saying they did not "want to be treated this way".

Instead he said you had to offer them all your main items.

Mr Lagerfeld also said he had no plans to retire, saying he was continuing to come up with new ideas.

"The brain is a muscle and you have to work out," he said. "The French say you get hungry when you are eating, and you get ideas when you are thinking."

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