Karl Lagerfeld says Chanel wasn't "trendy" at all when he started working there.
The iconic designer features in a fashion documentary for CNN, called Fashion: Backstage Pass From Paris. He discusses his work at length in it, including his decision to take the job as chief designer of Chanel in 1983.
He completely reworked the company's aesthetic, shortening hemlines and creating new shapes. The label was set up by Coco Chanel in 1909 and he has no doubt she wouldn't be keen on his work.
"You know, when I was asked to do it, Chanel wasn't trendy at all. The owner said, 'I'm not proud of the business. If you can make something, OK. If not, I'll sell it,"' Lagerfeld recalls on the program.
"And we made something out of it because he gave me total freedom. The label has an image. It's up to me to update it. What I did, [Coco Chanel] never did, she would have hated."
Lagerfeld also works on his own label and for Fendi. It means he has to come up with a lot of different pieces each year, so has a novel way of ensuring he doesn't repeat anything.
"I have Alzheimer's for my own work and I do that on purpose. I think that's a very good thing because today too many people remember what they did.
Forget it all and start again," he says.
Lagerfeld knows fashion fans love to hear his views on the industry, which he finds "flattering". During the interview he discusses why he thinks he's been so successful.
"I'm a walking label. My name is Labelfeld, not Lagerfeld," he says.