Karl Lagerfeld’s Most Outrageous Outdoor Gear Designs
The controversial late fashion designer will be honored at the 2023 Met Gala tonight
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In his own words, the late German fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld was “a sort of vampire, taking the blood of other people.” Known for his decades-long tenure at the helm of Chanel, the white ponytailed creative director took jabs at plus-size women and the #MeToo movement, photographed a model in blackface and yellowface in the distant year of 2010, and erroneously stated that Germany’s acceptance of Syrian refugees was an affront to Holocaust victims.
And yet, Lagerfeld is at the center of the Met Gala on Monday, May 1, a fundraising benefit known as “fashion’s biggest night out.” This year’s Costume Institute exhibition, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty,” will celebrate the icon’s life and work, with invitees simply asked to dress “in honor of Karl” (once they’ve paid for their $50,000 ticket, that is).
If you were thinking that Outside was more interested in Gore-Tex than haute couture, think again. It’s been at least six years since “gorpcore”—a trend marked by sporty, utilitarian outdoor wear—first hit the scene, and Outside editors have been wearing Salomon sneakers and North Face puffers since long before those brands started showing up on runways. And so, in recognition of this evening’s festivities, we scraped the bowels of the internet for the most outrageous outdoor gear produced under Lagerfeld’s regime.
An $11,000 Fly Fishing Rod
The year is 2008. The world is deep in the throes of the Great Recession. And Chanel is selling a fly-fishing rod for the low, low price of around $11,456 USD. Fit for the “ponciest angler on the planet,” the rod comes with “a set of meticulously tied, monochrome Chanel flies, complete with the famous ‘double C’ logo on the gossamer wings,” according to The Guardian. In addition to being packaged in “a rather fetching, quilted black leather box,” this piece of gear shares a history with the brand’s eponymous founder and literal Nazi Coco Chanel, who honed her angling skills while dating the Duke of Westminster Hugh Grosvenor in the 1920s.
A $12,000 Bicycle
Also in ’08, Chanel rolled out a limited-edition bike as part of its fall Sport Collection, The Cut reported at the time. The $12,000 ride reportedly came with “a signature-quilted bike bag on the rear and a mega-comfy seat for easy riding.” Jennifer Aniston reportedly received the bike as a gift from Friends co-star Courteney Cox. “Jennifer said she wanted to start bike riding because it’s such good exercise. So Courteney sent her the new, ultra-chic Chanel bicycle,” an alleged source close to the star told the celebrity gossip site Female First. “Courteney only sent Jennifer the bike two weeks ago but she already loves it! She goes out riding all the time.”
That $1,325 Boomerang
In 2017, Chanel came under fire for selling a black wood-and-resin boomerang, emblazoned with a double C logo. The brand was accused of appropriating Aboriginal culture. “Landmark copyright litigation was brought in the 1990s over rip-offs and copycats of Indigenous art, but further reform is needed,” Queensland University professor Matthew Rimmer, an intellectual property expert, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “As a good corporate citizen, Chanel should apologize fully, withdraw the boomerang from sale, and make appropriate reparations to Australian Indigenous communities.” In a statement at the time, a Chanel spokesperson said the company “regret[ted] that some may have felt offended.”