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Exclusive: Amber Valletta on Her Favorite Memory of Karl Lagerfeld and Her Passion for Sustainability

Amber Valletta. Photo: Courtesy of Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld muse, model, and longtime sustainability campaigner Amber Valletta has joined forces with the designer’s namesake brand to create accessories for the Spring 2021 season. Made with socially sustainable materials sourced with minimal ecological impact, the collection comprises a range of small accessories including a reusable water bottle, zip wallet, cardholder, face mask, washbag, and the highlight: A reimagined house classic, the K/Kushion bag.

We caught up with Valletta to learn more about the collaboration and a quick-fire round of This-or-That to know some of her favorite things.

How did the collaboration with Karl Lagerfeld come about?

When I had my online store called Master & Muse, we wanted to do collaborations with designers that were sustainably made and beautifully designed. Karl was the first designer I asked to collaborate with, and he said “Yes!” I was elated! Unfortunately for reasons beyond our control, the collaboration didn’t happen at that time. However, I continued discussing with Karl and the Karl Lagerfeld family, and it became clear that we all wanted to find a way to work together and bring something modern and mainstream to sustainability in fashion.

The collaboration focuses on accessories that are sustainably sourced and produced. Why is this important to you?

It’s undeniable that we are in a climate crisis. I believe that the only way forward in fashion is to recognize our industry’s part in contributing to that crisis. This means designing, sourcing, and producing clothing and accessories that are thoughtfully made with innovative and sustainable materials. Karl was such an inspiration to me in this regard, because he designed classic forms but was always thinking outside of the box. He was a true innovator. This collaboration is exciting because it shows that we don’t have to sacrifice great style to make responsibly made fashion.

The vegan cactus leather K/Kushion bag. Photo: Courtesy of Karl Lagerfeld

How would you suggest styling the K/Kushion bag?

The K/Kushion is such a cool and easy bag, and I feel it can be effortlessly worn with so many looks. I see the sleek black bag as a dressy statement piece. The green pleated style as an everyday chic bag, and the neutral cotton has more of a summer vibe. All three are great for travel, too!

Why are you passionate about environmental sustainability and socially responsible fashion?

I believe there is no bigger existential threat to the world at large than the climate crisis. Fashion is one of the largest and most important industries on the planet and has the opportunity to be a real game-changer in solving this crisis. I believe most people want to buy things they feel good about, without harming people or the planet. Making fashion with the well-being of people and the planet in mind will ultimately benefit everyone!

Can you highlight some of the ways you’re involved in sustainability projects, particularly in regard to socially responsible fashion?

I am the first and newly appointed Contributing Sustainability Editor for British Vogue. I am on the board of FIT (Fashion Institute of Technology) and am their sustainability ambassador. I use my platform and leadership to educate and build awareness about the interconnectedness of fashion and the climate crisis. I also have a production company that has produced a series of short films called Driving Fashion Forward about fashion and sustainability, plus a film for The Sierra Club called Reinventing Power. We continue to look for opportunities to produce engaging and awareness-building content about fashion and the environment.

Photo: Courtesy of Karl Lagerfeld

So far, what has been the highlight of working with Karl Lagerfeld the brand?

I love being able to continue the legacy of Karl — chic, bold and innovative! The Karl Lagerfeld brand is not only cool, but also accessible, which inspires me. I’m excited to see how thoroughly the Karl Lagerfeld brand is researching sustainable practices and materials. They continue to impress me with their knowledge and commitment to design, and producing in a new and conscious way. I know first-hand that meaningful change takes time and effort, and the Karl Lagerfeld team is showing up fully! I really enjoy working with all of the Karl family as I see their true desire to change and grow as a brand.

Do you remember the first time you met Karl in person? If so, what do you remember?

Goodness, it was so long ago! I remember his keen eye and curious mind asking questions while doing a fitting for him at Chanel. And, of course, the fan!

What is your favorite memory of Karl?

My favorite memories with Karl are from the fun dinners he would host at his home in Paris. We ate at this elaborate table that was shaped in a circle with another inner circle on top that you turned to share food. We laughed and listened to Karl tell us stories engaging all of us in his mesmerizing world. He was one of the most knowledgeable and interesting people I have ever known.

What three words would you use to describe your style?

Cool, rock-and-roll, thoughtful.

What’s the best styling advice you ever received?

Less is more.

(Outside of a pandemic) what is your favorite city in the world to visit?


What is the one item you always pack in your suitcase?

A book.

Outside of work, what are your hobbies?

Reading, knitting, gardening, bugging my dogs, little art projects, sports.

Phone call or text?

Phone call.

Heels or flats?


Chocolate or vanilla?


Books or movies?


Summer or winter?


Ocean or mountains?

Mountains against the ocean.

Coffee or tea?


Read Next: Amber Valletta Teams Up with Karl Lagerfeld to Create an Eco-Friendly Accessories Collection

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