2012 February 9
A Star is Born: C’est Harald Glööckler!
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(NEW YORK) We couldn’t dream him up if we tried! Front row at Berlin Fashion Week, your Daily encountered this ultra-glam designer, dubbed the “Prince of Fashion.” He unveiled his plans to bring his particular brand of magique to American shores. Warning: this is a real story. BY EDDIE ROCHE
Are you really coming to America?
I’m booking some flights to California. There are plenty of people who want to meet me, who want to work with me, and who love me. I’m different and glamorous, and people don’t feel they have that anymore. Where is Versace or Liberace or Elizabeth Taylor? People like my idea of doing glamour for the masses. I started turning every woman into a princess about eight years ago. I believe no woman should ever cry. Now, there is a potential reality show.
I’ve never been to Los Angeles, so it will be my first trip. A television crew will also follow me because I’m doing a reality show for a German channel at the moment. I’m thinking of getting an apartment in LA because I have a lot of friends there. It’s magic. I can’t tell you why, but now is the time.
You’re going to love Beverly Hills.
I’m sure one day I’ll have a big villa there and be one of the last divas on earth. I’m sure I will love it. In my 1995 Haute Couture show, Chaka Khan modeled and Bo Derek was a guest. Chaka told me to come to Los Angeles because I was too much for Germany. The Germans can’t handle personalities, that’s the problem. Ute Lemper and Marlene Dietrich are not so much appreciated in Germany. If you are an extravagant man, it’s not so easy. I’ve been on a shopping channel in Japan, and in London, they did a documentary on me that was called Harald Glööckler: Prince of Fashion. People loved me!
Of course! Have you been to New York before?
Yes! I stay at the Plaza. I love that hotel. I went to Times Square last year, and a German television crew was following me to see how people would react. A lot of young guys called out my name. Even if they don’t know who I am, people wanted my picture because they thought I looked gorgeous. But a lot of people knew me. Even in the hotel elevator, people would stop me and say that I was bringing back old glamour. I met Wyclef and he told me he loved my style and his bodyguard said, ‘I think you can buy it. He’s a German fashion designer.’ I also ate the best steak of my life. I could live in New York immediately. People say it’s a big town, but I felt I had arrived at home. You don’t feel like you are in the city with all the trees.
We’d love that! What do you think of American fashion designers?
I know Isaac Mizrahi, and I like Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger. You have a lot of great designers. They are elegant, sophisticated, and wearable. I wear sports things from Ralph.
What about Ed Hardy?
I’ll tell you the truth—I like it, but I never wear it, because I never champion the things that everyone wants to have. I did those kinds of styles in 1994! I’m not one of those people who jumps on every train. I’m much more classical and traditional than you’d think.
What does it mean to be the ‘Prince of Fashion?’
They first called me that in London—on my first QVC show. They said I looked a bit like Prince. Some of the blogs have said that I look like the son of Liza Minnelli and David Gest. Since I was six years old, I have dreamed of being a prince. Now, I dream to make every woman into a princess, and I want to be the prince of all these women. But I never want to be a king! A prince is always young.
Indeed. You’re keeping busy!
I’m designing bags, cosmetics, iPad cases, furniture, and they’re sold all over the world. At the moment, I’m designing a house for a company that makes ready-made houses. I’m also writing a new book that has to be ready in two weeks. I started two weeks ago. It will be brought out in English because a lot of people in other countries have requested that. The book is about me being at the Plaza and looking out the window at Central Park as I talk about my life from Hong Kong to St. Moritz. At the end of the book, I take my suitcase and 30 pairs of shoes and perfumes and I fly back home.
Which celebrities would you like to dress?
Camilla Parker Bowles and the Queen of England. Also, Lady Gaga. But I’m not so obsessed with celebs because I like to dress every woman. Just two days ago, a woman came up to me on the street and said, ‘Look at me! I’m 78 years old and I don’t look like a princess, but in your fashion I feel so royal.’
Would you ever consider taking over at Dior?
I don’t think about it, but if they asked, I’d have to consider it.
What do you think about the way Americans dress?
The Germans want to be perfect, but the Americans dress up however they want and that’s what I like!
Everyone is buzzing about a young American designer named Joseph Altuzarra. Do you have any advice for him?
Oh my God! Oh my God! Everybody has to do their own thing and learn their way, but what he has to learn is to never give up! Never give up! They always said to me, ‘Why don’t you make fashion like Hugo Boss or other designers? You’re too crazy and too extravagant.’ But I always said, ‘That’s me! I will have success with it.’ Some people want to help, but some people are jealous. Be ready!
Did you ever think you’d be as successful as you are?
I was always sure of it.
How’s your love life?
I’m in love with my partner of 25 years. He’s been married before and has two girls. We work on the business together.
We think Sacha Baron Cohen based his character Bruno on you. Thoughts?
(laughs) I think you have to ask him, but the proof is that Sacha met me in Germany one year before he started to do the film. We had a nice evening. He asked a lot of questions and filmed me. When the film came out, they found a lot of pictures and situations and poses that he did that I had done before. People asked his management for a statement but they gave no statement. I enjoy him very much.
Were you flattered?
Not really. It wasn’t bad or good. It was OK. I’m Harald Glööckler. I am not Bruno. I’m not angry about it.
How do you want to be remembered?
You have to have a big heart like Elizabeth Taylor. There are plenty of stars, and people don’t remember them. If you do things for other people, they’ll never forget you.
You’re friends with Dita Von Teese.
She’s amazing. She visited me at my home in Berlin. They told her about me and my 1,400-square-meter apartment [that’s about 4,600-square-feet, darlings!] near Brandenburg Gate and I got a call at 10 p.m. that she wanted to come visit me in an hour. I said OK. I had put away all my makeup, but if Dita is coming—someone who had been together with Marilyn Manson—I can’t meet her without makeup! So I went back into the bathroom and made black eyes, red lips, and crazy sunglasses. She loved it. She’s so beautiful. She tweeted the next day that she very much enjoyed being in my palace and that I’m the modern Liberace.
Are you the modern Liberace?
I’m Harald Glööckler, but I can understand why I remind them of Liberace. He had a lot of bling, bling...
Thank you for your time!
I send all my love to all the people in New York, and all the people in the fashion scene.
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