Even as he sits backstage styling models for his first-ever L.A. fashion show, Karl Lagerfeld is grumbling about having to go out. "Going out means the car, the driver and the bodyguard—people think I'm public property," says the designer, who is as recognizable in his trademark sunglasses and high-collared shirts as the looks he creates for Chanel. "They ask, 'Can I have a photo with you?'—and then they pinch my ass! A man my age, it's unbelievable, no?" Actually, not so much. Although his age may be in question ("The world will have to wait for me to be dead to get the truth," says Lagerfeld, who is variously listed as 68 and 73), there is no denying the German native's allure. Not only did stars from Demi Moore
to Sarah Michelle Gellar to the Olsen twins turn out for his May 18 bash at the Santa Monica Airport—which featured models in everything from classic Chanel tweed to sequined bathrobes, disembarking from a Challenger 601 plane—but the notoriously tardy Lindsay Lohan
actually showed up early. "He is the reason I love fashion!" she gushed. "What else is better than Chanel? Nothing." And at the show's afterparty, celebs ditched their caviar and Louis Roederer champagne to get in line and shake his gloved hand. "Every time I see Karl," admitted Victoria Beckham, "I'm actually quite starstruck!"