This afternoon, Diane Kruger arrived early at the F.I.T. Couture Council Luncheon to honor Karl Lagerfeld, which was hosted by the concierge service Quintessentially. She lingered in the corner of Avery Fisher Hall's long upstairs balcony, sipping Diet Coke and working up her nerve to give the speech that would introduce the legendary Chanel designer. (I'm not very good with speeches," she murmured.) But she and Karl go way back. "I've know him half my life," she said. "I used to model, and that's how I first met him. I was the face of Allure the perfume, and the makeup line, and I've known him ever since. We've stayed friends." That's all very well and good now, we said, but you were a kid when you met him. When did you stop being afraid of him? "Um. A couple of years in," she admitted. "He was very impressive then. He still is. He always, with me, was much more of a father figure. He was the first one as a young girl to see something in me."
Later, we sat down with Kruger and Lagerfeld at their table, where they were seated alongside Vogue's André Leon Talley and Anna Wintour. On his lapel, Lagerfeld was wearing a tiny scarlet rose.
NYM: Tell me about your button here. In your lapel.
Lagerfeld: This is the Commandeur of the Légion d'honneur. Commander, not the simple one.
NYM: Oh! So not many people are allowed to wear them.
Lagerfeld: No, there are less. There are only 2 Germans, and 200 in the world.
NYM: Diane just told me that you are neighbors in Paris. What is she like as a neighbor?
Lagerfeld: Perfect. I want to buy her apartment, but she doesn't want to sell.
Kruger: Every day, he's like: "Are you moving out?? Fine!"
NYM: Why her apartment? Is it better than yours?
Lagerfeld: Because I own apartments next to it. I want to include it in them.
Kruger: Slowly but surely, he's buying the entire block!
Lagerfeld: It's a real-estate move.
NYM: I just read that you travel around with eight bodyguards. Do people really bother you that much?
Lagerfeld: Yes, because you know, there are mad people too. There are mad people too. Look what happened to Anna with the PETA people. [Gestures at Anna Wintour, seated next to him.]
NYM: Diane says you have an amazing chef. What's your favorite thing about your chef?
Kruger: [Something in French.]
Lagerfeld: My chef is important, I have two of them. They make marvelous recipes given by my doctor to stay fit all the time.
NYM: Do you ever take your gloves off to eat?
No, no no no. I'm against pollution. Do you put off your shoes when you eat?