Thursday, 22 November 2012

Karl Lagerfeld

Last week, we had the privilege of meeting one of our favourite fashion personalities—Karl Lagerfeld. We were invited along to a Rolls Royce event at its headquarters and main factory at Chichester. Lagerfeld was invited to talk about Rolls Royce, of which he owns two, and to showcase his photographs of his cars.

I say “fashion personality” because he is so much more than a designer. He is an artist, a photographer and an enigmatic icon. A few weeks ago, we watched Lagerfeld Confidential, a documentary released in 2007, which follows Lagerfeld over the course of 3 years. Largely a private person, the documentary offered a rare insight into his daily life as well as revealing details of his background and views. There was an intimacy to the documentary and we felt strangely acquainted with him. 

There was a palpable anticipation in the air, as we awaited the arrival of the guest of honour. It was foggy that day and Lagerfeld’s jet had difficulty landing (he was flying in from Paris). Suddenly, a hushed silence fell over the room, a few people moved towards to the glass doors and there were smartphones raised, ready to snap away. Lagerfeld stepped into the room and the atmosphere turned electric by his mere presence. People watched his every move with curiosity and awe. Sporting his famous silver ponytail, black outfit with white standup collar and fingerless gloves, he moved with effortless grace, his entourage a close step behind.

All the photos were in black and white, shot with film (“real photography” Lagerfeld called it) not digital. Many of them were close ups of the contours and lines of Rolls Royce, which he considered beautiful. There was no denying Lagerfeld’s artistic intention, from the handling of the light to composition; he had created moody and abstract photos in his own individual style. His photographic skills came as no surprise to us but his humour and charisma was unexpected. Often photographed with a pout rather than a smile, we had no idea Lagerfeld could be so self-deprecatingly funny. There was an easy warmness to him, something that shone through in his documentary. He talked about his two serious car accidents that stopped him driving (he fell asleep at the wheel both times) and the trouble he got into with his father when he forgot to put the handbrake on after parking, a mistake that cost his father 3 cars in total when they rolled down the hill. Catch a glimpse of Lagerfeld in our video:


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