Monday, January 19, 2009

Disclosure on Lagerfeld Confidential

Image: Koch Lorber Films
My latest piece for slice.ca....
It is safe to say that Karl Lagerfeld is a fashion and style innovator and visionary, but what do we actually know about the man behind those signature dark sunglasses? To learn more about the Kaiser of fashion, I recently picked up a documentary about Karl Lagerfeld called “Lagerfeld Confidential” by Rodolphe Marconi (view trailer below). Karl has always kept his private life extremely private and no other biographical film or documentary material about Karl Lagerfeld’s life exists, so this documentary about him was highly anticipated by fashionistas and the fashion world alike. It is one of the best documentaries that I have seen in a longtime due to its success at candidly revealing the film’s enigmatic subject, Karl Lagerfeld.

The film follows Karl’s day-to-day life over a span of three years and it documents the highlights of those years. Through Marconi’s lens we get a glimpse of: Karl’s grand and luxurious Parisian home, behind the scenes at Chanel, Fendi, and the K by Karl Lagerfeld brands, a private photo shoot with Nicole Kidman, multiple photo shoots with male supermodel Brad Kroenig, Karl in his home office as he effortlessly sketches designs for Chanel, behind the scenes of multiple fashion shows and red carpet events, and most importantly we get to experience candid interviews with Lagerfeld and learn his opinions and philosophies on a variety of subjects from reality and boredom to love and relationships. Over the course of the film the many facets of Karl Lagerfeld’s persona are exposed. There is Karl Lagerfeld the fashion designer, there is Karl Lagerfeld the photographer, there is Karl Lagerfeld the intellectual, there is Karl Lagerfeld the creative visionary and there is Karl Lagerfeld the successful, enigmatic renaissance man that has accomplished so many things without anyone truly knowing him at all.

Image: Rodolphe Marconi
Image: Rodolphe Marconi
Image: Rodolphe Marconi

It is the discovery of Karl’s personal side, and in turn, his humanization that makes this film worth watching. Fabulous anecdotes of Karl’s earlier days spent clubbing with Yves Saint Laurent, his thoughts on art, fashion, sexuality and life in general, and even an explanation of why he maintains his signature look of dark sunglasses and a pony tail brings us closer to the man behind the haute couture glamour and glitz. Reading between the lines we realize that Karl is humorous, affectionate, and sensitive but at the same time authoritative and solitary. At one point in the film, the filmmaker asks Karl if, “there is anyone who really knows you (Karl)? Or are you the only one who knows you?” Karl replies, “It’s difficult for me to answer, I’ve molded people’s ideas about me so much that I think it’s almost impossible. I want it to be impossible even for the people I love deeply. I don’t want to be real in other people’s lives. I want to be a ghost. I appear then disappear. I don’t want to have reality in anyone’s life, because I don’t want it in mine. That’s the secret of it all… For people like me solitude is a victory, it’s a battle. People who have a job that is supposed to be creative, like mine, have to be alone to recharge their batteries. You can’t live 24 hours a day in the spotlight and remain creative.” This film discloses why Karl Lagerfeld is truly an inspiration and Lagerfeld Confidential is a true testament to one of the greatest fashion and style influences of all time.

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