This is really a fascinating video. It is completely in French but I have translated key points with the time stamps. The gist is Noemie and Karl are on opposite sides. Karl doesn’t think that the market for black fashion is as big, whilst Noemie does.
Karl Lagerfeld: The advantage of fashion is that there is no racism
Noemie Lenoir: Oh Karl…I am sorry but I think that there is in fashion.
NL: I am between black and white.
KL: Well you have a nice colour [literal translation of vous avez une jolie couler]
NL: Karl has started to use black women. Yves Saint Laurent helped black women. [In this bit, Noemie says ‘noir’.]
KL: Noir is a horrible word.
NL: It is not horrible. I am black [literal translation as she says, ‘c’est pas horrible, je suis noire’]
NL: Okay it is brown if you want.
KL: There is Iman, who is sublime and Naomi
NL: There are not many though
Karl later implies that the black market does not seem as interested in haute couture. I don’t want to twist his words but this is the gist I got.
NL: No, that’s not true. There are lot of rappers who wear Chanel, Louis and all the luxury labels. There are many black women and mixed-race women who have been buying designer labels for a few years.
NL: The movement has stalled. There is a problem between blacks and mixed-race people. I hope one day that will change.
NL: Why don’t we use blacks or mixed-race women?
KL: We use women who are well-known. For example, Daria [Werbowy].
KL: It’s an injustice but the core of the injustice is not that. The fact is there have not been enough of people X, in this case black people, who have fallen into the star category.
NL: When will you start using black models?
NL: Do we have to wait for the next Naomi or Iman?
Well this debate was REALLY something. Can’t believe it was done in April 2009! Noemie did not seem fazed by the fact she was going against KL, the designer of Chanel. She really gave some excellent food for thought.