Karl Lagerfeld is the King of Collaborations

This time, the Kaiser is launching colored pencils

Whether you love him or love to hate him, you cannot deny the power of Karl Lagerfeld. With his signature white ponytail and black sunglasses, and high-powered creative director posts at Chanel and Fendi, Lagerfeld is easily one of the most recognizable figures in the fashion industry. And when you’re as famous and successful as the Kaiser, the offers for countless collaborations follow. However, some may be a little more, well, interesting than others. 

Lagerfeld recently announced a collaboration between himself and Faber-Castell, the creators of the coloring pencils he uses to sketch. According to WWD, this September, the famed pencil manufacturer will release KarlBox, a collection of tools and supplies for sketching. The luxe pencils will be housed in a Chinese wedding chest-inspired box and will retail for approximately $2,825. In other words, they’re not your standard back to school fare. Designer pencils may seem like a bit of a stretch, but is it really the weirdest collaboration Lagerfeld has done? No, dear readers, it is not.

In fact, Lagerfeld is the reigning king of collaborations. He was the guinea pig for H&M’s limited-edition designer collections back in 2004. Although it may have been viewed as strange at the time, the success of Lagerfeld’s line led to a slew of other high-end designer collaborations with H&M and the like. Here, Lagerfeld was responsible for what became the new normal. 

Lagerfeld’s triumph with H&M led to a series of capsule collections for other retailers and brands: Macy’s in 2010 and 2011, Fossil Watches in 2011, Melissa Shoes in 2012, and Shu Uemura, also in 2012. His holiday collection with the latter lead to a line called “Shupette,” a cosmetics range inspired by Choupette, Lagerfeld’s beloved cat. Sure, a feline-inspired makeup line is a bit out of the ordinary, but we promise, it gets better.

In 2009, he collaborated with Les Ateliers Ruby, a luxury helmet designer in Paris, to create Karl Lagerfeld Motorcycle Helmets. Complete with a built-in iPod, the helmets were perfect for anyone who wouldn’t dare get on a bike without some haute protection. Safety first! 

2010 brought Lagerfeld’s buzzy collaboration with Diet Coke (because let’s be serious, no one in fashion drinks regular Coke). For a limited time, fashion-obsessed consumers could purchase the soda with Lagerfeld’s name attached. The collection was a success and begged an important question: Why buy a $5,000 Chanel handbag when you can carry around a soda bottle for mere pocket change?

Helicopters may not be as luxurious Lagerfeld’s private jet, but they can be easily customized. In 2012, AgustaWestland, an Italian helicopter company, tapped Lagerfeld to create a series of VIP Helicopters for their most important clients. Naturally, everyone who thought the Lagerfeld Diet Coke bottle was beneath them tried to snag a ride. 

But dominating all realms of the physical world—from fast fashion to exclusive air transport—wasn’t enough for Lagerfeld. So in 2013, he collaborated with his eyewear distributer, Optic 2000, to create a video game where the sole goal was to snatch the sunglasses off his head. The game’s virtual Lagerfeld was a Tokidoki-style character, and those who fell in love with cartoon Karl were able to purchase a doll version of him, too.

In recent years, Lagerfeld’s collaborations have skewed a bit more high-end. He created a boxing bag set for Louis Vuitton in 2014, and of course, turned himself into a Fendi Bag Bug in 2015. You know you live in a Karl-centric world when a fur charm with his features becomes the ultimate status symbol.

Karl Lagerfeld is a name that sells—even if it’s slapped on a product far outside the realm of fashion. But will Lagerfeld really be able to sell pencils priced just below a Chanel 2.55? Only time will tell.

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