Karl Lagerfeld's mother told him he looked like an ''old dyke'' in hats.

The 79-year-old designer is rarely pictured in anything other than a suit and admits he owes some of his fashion sense to the advice he received as a child.

He said: ''I love hats, in a way, but when I was a child, I'd wear Tyrolean hats, and my mother - I was something like eight - said to me, 'You shouldn't wear hats. You look like an old dyke.' Do you say such things to children? She was quite funny, no?''

Karl also recalled his father being more supportive of his fashion choices - after he threatened to ''die'' from cold weather if he couldn't have a particular coat.

He said: ''I remember one time in winter in 1956 - it was beyond cold.

''And I went to see my father at the George V with only a suit on. He said to me, 'But you will die! You will get pneumonia!' And I said, 'I prefer to die than to wear another coat than the robe style in blue cashmere in the Dorian Gray window. If not that one, I prefer to freeze.' So he bought the coat.''

The outspoken Chanel designer also revealed a hatred of tattoos, branding them ''horrible''.

He told M magazine: ''I think tattoos are horrible. It's like living in a Pucci dress full-time. If you're young and tight, maybe it's OK, but...''