After the news flash of a week ago that Karl Lagerfeld was lamenting that there was no marriage between people and animals because he is in love with his white kitty Choupette, I thought the time was right to rewatch a film I saw five years ago, Lagerfeld Confidential.
Released in 2007, the film is not so much a biography of Lagerfeld as it is an extended interview. The filmmaker follows him around, filming him at home, at work, in the air, at parties. Lots of questions are asked, but few are answered directly. Instead, you get a better sense of who Lagerfeld is by looking at his surroundings and his way of working. In one of his apartments (the one for sleeping, not the one for eating) he has a chest of drawers just for his collars. On top of the chest are trays of his silver rings. I’d estimate there were several hundred rings.
On top of one chest his ipods are lined up. There were maybe twelve of them. At the foot of his bed is a huge TV, and the walls are lined with books. In fact, there are books everywhere.
Some of the best scenes are of Lagerfeld at work. He freely admits to knowing nothing of clothing construction, and has no fashion training. His work often, he says, starts with dreams, (but one can’t always count on them) and then proceeds to a sketch. Then it is up to the atelier to interpret the design and give it life.
Lagerfeld dreamed the entire concept of his fall 2005 couture show. That must have been a fantastic dream, as it is one of his most memorable productions, with all the models going out onto a circular runway, all wearing black coats, capes and cloaks. When all of the models were in place on the runway, they all removed the coats as one, revealing the colorful suits and dresses beneath.
The film is about an hour and a half, and a good deal of it is wasted time, with a blurry sequence of a young boy in the sea and other sequences set to music and looking all arty. You can see it on youtube or netflix. It is in French, and the English subtitles are rather bad. Or perhaps it is Karl’s rambling but at any rate, through much of it one is left wondering what the heck he is talking about.