Article - "Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld still an enigma"

  1. I saw this AP article in Yahoo news and thought you guys might enjoy it.

    By JENNY BARCHFIELD, Associated Press Writer

    PARIS - A mantelpiece is strewn with a dozen iPods and hundreds of chunky silver rings. Drawers are full of starched shirt collars. Piles of books stretch skyward like teetering towers of Pisa.

    This close-up look at Chanel designer Karl Lagerfeld's lavish life is shown in "Lagerfeld Confidential" — a new French movie condensing two years of the ponytailed designer's frenetic activity into a riveting hour and a half.

    But despite the movie's focus on the fashion world's most enigmatic icon, Lagerfeld remains shrouded in mystery.

    Like a shadow, the camera trails Lagerfeld — who also designs for Italian luxury brand Fendi and his own eponymous label — as he churns out hurried sketches, takes a victory lap on the catwalk to thundering applause, jets to Monaco and New York and shoots hunky male models clad only in strategically placed fur.

    While present in nearly every shot, Lagerfeld remains distant, aloof and ultimately unknowable behind his signature dark shades.

    "I don't want to be a reality in people's lives," Lagerfeld tells the camera in one scene. "I want to be a ghost."

    The movie — which opens in France next week and is set for U.S. release later this month — is the product of a two-year collaboration between Lagerfeld and Rodolphe Marconi, a dashing young French director who shot more than 300 hours of footage of Lagerfeld at work and play.

    Marconi said it was Lagerfeld's hard public image that drew him to the designer.
    "I was sure there was a real human behind" the facade, Marconi told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "I wanted to show it."

    In some scenes, Marconi just about pulls it off.

    We see Lagerfeld do things that regular people do, such as chow down on his version of a TV dinner: a chef-prepared meal served in his hotel room. In another scene, the 69-year-old designer beams with childlike glee as he tries on a gold lame baseball jacket at a Christian Dior boutique.

    But mostly he is impenetrable, shooting off pointed, witty remarks in his rapid-fire French to his ever-present, adoring entourage.

    "Ohh! Ahh," coo the members of his inner circle in one scene, as Lagerfeld shows off his photos of a male model.

    Marconi, a 31-year-old actor-turned-director, often comes off as yet another Lagerfeld lackey. He rushes to open the car door for Lagerfeld, guffaws loudly at his jokes and nearly drips obsequiousness toward the designer.

    In their one-on-one interviews, Marconi tiptoes around the hard questions, asking Lagerfeld about his childhood and sexuality with a trepidation so palpable that on one occasion an exasperated Lagerfeld scolds him for it.

    "You either see (what you want to ask) more clearly or we'll go on to another subject," he says abruptly.

    Asked about his love life, Lagerfeld skirts the question and instead criticizes domestic partnership laws in France. He keeps personal revelations to a minimum, referring obliquely to a "tragedy" — Lagerfeld had a widely known relationship with a French aristocrat who died of AIDS in 1989 — but going no further.

    "Lagerfeld Confidential" pounds home his motto — carpe diem — with about as much subtlety as a sledgehammer. Again and again, Lagerfeld proclaims he has no ties to the past and lives only for the present moment.

    "If it was really better before, then we should all just kill ourselves right away," he says with characteristic dryness.

    Marconi said when he approached Lagerfeld with his movie proposal, the designer's assistant told him "more than 100 people" had already asked permission to make such a film.

    Marconi said he was not sure why Lagerfeld chose him: "Perhaps because I didn't go into it with an agenda."

    Lagerfeld gained a reputation by reviving a flagging Chanel after taking over in 1982, and in 2004 designed a collection for Swedish fast-fashion retailer H&M that made his work available to customers with smaller purses. In a sign of his celebrity status, Lagerfeld released a CD of his favorite songs and a weight-loss guide filled with the secrets that allowed him to shed 80 pounds.

    Lagerfeld said Marconi's film "ended up annoying me."

    "Let's say that Rodolphe Marconi was able to observe and capture what I wanted to play for him," he was quoted as saying in French Vogue. "It's not that I lie, it's that I don't owe the truth to anyone. After all, I'm not facing a judge, but a director."

    Asked whether he thought he had gotten to know Lagerfeld, Marconi said, "I have the feeling I know him now ... though in truth, you never really know anyone."
  2. Thanks......very interesting. He is a little or should I say, a lot egotistical.
  3. [​IMG]

    Ankle monitor? That is real classy.
  4. He's a very interesting and unique guy!
  5. I didn't realize he was 69. I'm not sure how old I thought he was.
  6. I think he is a very interesting person and I agree that he is a mystery to most. I am truly facinated by him.

    While I may agree that he's egotistical, I feel he is one of those people who basically has the talent to back it up.
  7. Please don't miss the article on October's French Vogue, "confidences mordentes" an interview with Mr Lagerfeld himself, he certainly does not mince his words. Here is an excerpt, please forgive the style since English is not my mother tongue:

    Your definition of elegance?

    KLG- It is mainly physical. If you do not have an elegant body, even the most elegant dress will be unable to fix that. An Ethiopian peasant can be wildly elegant, and a very wealthy person can look like a tobacco container.

    What advice would you give a woman who wanted to be chic?

    Work on your silhouette. Today, chic is not a question of budget, since you can buy at H&M or TopShop, the Kate Moss collection is excellent, by the way. But today people do not look at themselves, there are more and more overweight people, in the summer everybody dresses down, exhibit themselves, it is a public show of flesh and varicose veins. It is impudent. Today people do not look at themselves, but they look at other people who make them dream, they have become voyeurs. People critise other people without stopping to think what they look like themselves. People have become voyeurs en masse.

    What is the most striking silhouette you have created at Chanel?

    It is more the spirit, rather than a silhouette. It is very dangerous to create a new silhouette. Even the old man of Dior, beside the "New Look" what else did he create? Fashion is the spirit one has to inject into things, but things have to evolve.

    Of all my collections, the most important one is always the next one. There is no credit in the past, that is my motto. What you have done, that is no longer of interest. When I see these celebrations like the 45th anniversary of Valentino, I find it horrible. Chanel and Balenciaga did not do celebrate such things, they just made dresses that women wore. Nowadays dresses go almost directly from the catwalk to the museum. They are born already dead (stillborn?)
  8. Anoukaimee thanks very much for that interpretation! Wow, that man certainly doesn't mince his words ... :lol:
  9. thank u for the info, it's interesting :yes:
  10. Interesting read!

    I can't imagine being followed around by a guy and a camera for TWO YEARS. That would drive me nuts!
  11. I wonder what he looks like without the sunglasses.
  12. Thanks for providing us with this article! It's quite an interesting read.

  13. it is definately an interesting read. Is the october french voughe available in the US?
  14. Very interesting - thanks for taking the time to post it! :tup:
  15. Mikan thanks for posting this article and many thanks to anoukaimee for translating the French version!:flowers::flowers: