Karl Lagerfelt doesn't believe in "sitting around".
The Chanel creative director believes his success is down to his insistence on working hard and constantly pushing ahead with new ideas.
He said: "It's a very healthy thing to live a high-speed professional life. Ideas come when you work. I don't believe in sitting around waiting for information.
"I live by not giving credit to the past and believing in 'no second action' - you have to think first before you propose something."
Despite his long and illustrious career, the 81-year-old designer never revisits his old collections for inspiration.
Speaking to Suzy Menkes at the Conde Nast International Luxury Conference, he said: "My life and my job is to forget myself.
"You want me to take inspiration from my past? No. I don't have to take note of my past. I don't want to see who's had success in the past - I don't think like this.
"I have never gone into the Chanel and Fendi archives. It's unhealthy for me, but I can see it's interesting for other people."
And Karl started his eponymous label to give himself the "freedom" he craved, though he has never wanted to run a business.
He explained: "I need the idea of freedom - that I could leave if I wanted as it's bad for a designer to be in an ivory tower.
"I started the Karl Lagerfeld business because I wanted to put my name behind a label. I was tired with the Chloé management. But I've never owned a business as I don't want responsibility. I want to be free."