Karl lagerfeld He continues to give, after death, as many headlines as he did in life. Four years after his death, a large part of his personal belongings have been auctioned for a million-dollar figure, his court continues to fight over an inheritance that is still unresolved, his work will be the center of the next great exhibition at the Met in New York, and his life It is fodder for series and movies. The unknowns about the life of the German designer who revived Chanel after the death of its founder are still as present as then. The difference is that now many have lost their fear of talking about the ‘Kaiser’ of fashion, at the helm of Chanel for thirty years and creative director of Fendi and his own brand of the same name.
“He had one foot in Chanel and one foot in LVMH, he absolutely controlled the fashion world. So yes, it was very difficult to talk about him and the moment he died it was much easier”, confesses the journalist for “Le Monde” Raphaëlle Bacqué, author of the biography kaiser Karl and co-creator of the series that Disney + prepares with the same title. Bacqué, accustomed to investigating the spheres of power in France, approached lagerfeld for a series of reports on the creator in which he talked about his family and his origins, so quiet and modeled by the designer. The German, of course, was not very amused by this, but it motivated Bacqué to continue scratching.
by chance, lagerfeld she died before the journalist published her book and then the phone began to ring. “He had located witnesses who had not wanted to speak. But at that moment they called me again: Can we meet? Now I do want to talk.” Bacqué does not confess who was behind that call, but her book mentions, among others, the model Inès de la Fressange, who portrayed a ruthless man even with her friends, or Gilles Dufour, former Chanel studio director.
The filming of the series kaiser Karl, which began this week between France, Monaco and Italy, has the Spanish-German actor Daniel Brühl (Goodbye Lenin, Damn bastards) for the title role and with a very European cast to revive the Parisian fashion and designer sphere in the 1970s, before lagerfeld became an icon. Arnaud Valois will play Yves Saint-Laurent, Théodore Pellerin will play the “poisonous” dandy Jacques de Bascher, Agnès Jaoui will play the creator of the Chloé brand, Gaby Aghion, and the quintessential French ‘it girl’, Jeanne Ladies, you will get into the shoes of Paloma Picasso. She represents well what was the competition between Saint Laurent and lagerfeld: so as not to have to choose, one made her the wedding dress for the day and the other for the night.
“We wanted to make a European series that reflects what it was lagerfeld: a great European. A fictional character, complicated and a liar”, says Bacqué, who insists that fashion is only the decoration of this series, which will talk about power and a unique era for society. In those 70’s, lagerfeld he begins to create his character by coming out of some of the lies that he had launched when he arrived in France after World War II, when he even said that he was Swedish. He “He already began to say who he was and where he came from. He lived in Paris with his mother, Elisabeth, an important character in this story, and he began to have great commercial success.
There was a bitter war between him and Saint Laurent, internationally recognized as a great creator. lagerfeld did not have the same prestige. The six episodes of the first season, which will be released in 2024, end precisely when the success and disguise that accompanied him for the rest of his life begins: the appointment of Chanel in 1982. The project prepared by Jared Leto on lagerfeld. A ‘biopic’, still without a release date, that the actor himself has produced and that he presented trying to legitimize himself for having met and treated the designer. “One day, I’ll play him in a movie,” Leto told him, according to an interview with Women’s Wear Daily. “Only you, dear, only you”, would have responded the ‘Kaiser’.
lagerfeld he has left a mark on the industry that has more to do with business than art: a furious operation of multiple annual collections, beyond the winter and summer seasons; and a system based on the reign of artistic directors. He was behind many of the supermodels of the ’90s and the extravaganzas that fashion shows became. He was, for Bacqué, a businessman rather than an artist-poet.
A vision that the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art will combat in the exhibition Karl lagerfeld: A line of Beauty, which will examine the German’s work focusing on his “stylistic vocabulary” from the 1950s to his latest collection in 2019, focusing on the sketches he drew freehand in a matter of seconds. Productive, yes, but highly creative and with a background that deserves to be analyzed, according to the curator of the sample, Andrew Bolton. In September, Bolton was in Paris advancing the show’s content alongside US Vogue honcho Anna Wintour and singer Pharrel Williams, recently appointed Louis Vuitton’s menswear creative director.
The exhibition seems to come out of the wing of lagerfeld, since the presentation behind closed doors was made in the designer’s Parisian studio, clearly inscribed in the will of brands and creators to legitimize themselves within art, regardless of whether the work has been more or less commercial. So much so that Bolton did not want to refer to the exhibition as a retrospective but as an “essay” on a specific aspect of lagerfeld“the secret code” that its lines represented.
“I made drawings of everything. He said that he started drawing before he could talk or walk. It was the main form of communication for him, whether it was by fax or iPhone,” Bolton said at the presentation, noting that the exhibition will be the way to see the evolution of those drawings from paper to garments in three dimensions.
Sponsored by Chanel and Fendi, the exhibition will collect 150 pieces of lagerfeld, from his work for Balmain, Patou, to Chloé, Fendi, Chanel and the German brand of the same name. Bolton then defended that the creative process of lagerfeldIt has not been praised enough, hence they try to decipher the “secret language” spoken by the minimalist lines that the creative used in the illustrations that he transmitted to his workshop managers. The tribute to the designer will also be the theme of the traditional MET gala, on May 1, in which we will see celebrities and creators reinterpret the universe of lagerfeld.
Considering that much of his work consented to reinterpret the codes of the fashion houses he ran to continue connecting with new audiences (and continue to sell), the excuse of the line seems the only way to create a continuous thread in the career. artistic of lagerfeld. Of him, Wintour said: “It is paradoxical that he has become a world-renowned figure while maintaining strict privacy in his life.” A way of life that explains the mystery that journalists, producers and fashion historians are now trying to unravel.
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