By Anna Hecht
Sep 10, 2016 @ 8:00 am
Franziska Krug/Getty Images

Karl Lagerfeld celebrates his 83rd birthday today, and throughout the six decades he's spent in fashion there's been no question that he is among the world's most highly skilled and well-known designers. Lagerfeld has long been the creative genius behind Chanel, as well as Italian fashion house Fendi. He is not, however, just a fashion designer. The creative force is also a photographer, publisher, and film director—but, he's said, he wouldn’t go so far as to call himself an artist. Many fans would likely disagree.

Lagerfeld has strong convictions about how to live, work—and dress, of course—which, when coming from the man who's steered the fashion industry for decades, has us all ears. In honor of his birthday, we decided to reflect on some of his words of wisdom, including everything from his take on the selfie to why he doesn’t see any reason to stop designing now.

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1. On His Fashion Philosophy:
"There’s no faraway future, it’s no futuristic thing. Fashion is something people are supposed to consume immediately, not in 10 years." (

2. On the Selfie Phenomenon:
"We live in a world of selfies. I don’t do selfies. But other people do, and they all want to do selfies with me. No, no, no." (

3. On Why He's Not Counting Down to Retirement:
"If you like what you do, you don't count." (

4. On Why Photography Fulfills Him:
"You finish the collection and you are isolated until the time to get to the next one. That would be very boring. It’s very bad and unhealthy to get isolated. Already I don’t walk in the street, so I have to do something, somewhere." (

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5. On His Creative Process
"I don’t believe in waiting for inspiration. The French say, l’appétit vient en mangeant, the ideas come when you work. I work a lot for the garbage can. I have huge bins next [to me], for whatever I do, 95 percent goes to the bin." (

6. On Never Looking Back After Creating a Collection
"What I like is to do—not the fact that I did. It doesn’t excite me at all." (

7. On Not Taking Things too Seriously
"I don’t think that most of the designers have a very quick sense of humor. They take themselves very seriously because they want to be taken as artists. I think we are artisans. It’s an applied art. There’s nothing bad about that. If you want to do art, then show it in a gallery." (

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8. On Whether He Worries About His Designs Selling:
"No, thank god, because then it becomes marketing. I hope it will, but I don’t formulate it. I think that’s a very unhealthy thing. I am a commercial designer. As Carrie Donovan used to say, 'Fashion is what people wear,' and I don’t think that’s changed." (

9. On Following Trends:
"Trendy is the last stage before tacky." (