“So early – that wouldn’t be quite Karl’s style,” says Anna Wintour, and I think she’s right. At eight o’clock in the morning sharp, the head of American Vogue in Paris called a press conference to promote the Costume Institute’s major fashion exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum in New York next spring. The location of the announcement was only announced the evening before. So no one could previously draw conclusions about the subject of the exhibition in the largest American art museum. But it’s been out since the evening before, because “7 Rue de Lille” is an almost mythical address in fashion history: Here it was Karl Lagerfeld his photo studio with tens of thousands of books.
When the designer went through his own bookshop in the front building to the studio with its floor-to-ceiling shelves, it was usually already afternoon, because he spent the morning alone at home, drawing, reading and listening to music. His longtime girlfriend is completely different Anna Wintourwho is known for getting up early in the morning to play tennis and then – as she has done for 34 years – to take up her duties as the world’s most powerful fashion editor.
In the middle of Prêt-à-Porter week, she appears in a cheerful mood at eight o’clock in the morning in a Chanel suit in front of more than 100 overtired fashion journalists. The exhibition will be called “Karl Lagerfeld – A Line of Beauty” – this alludes to the drawing skills of the German designer and, via the pun with “in the line of duty” (“on duty”), also to his sense of duty. The great effort for this news also has to do with the expectations of the exhibition opening: The “Met Gala” with the celebrity show surpasses the Oscar evening in terms of stylistic penetration – if you think of legendary performances by Lady Gaga, Rihanna or Kim Kardashian thinks.
Pharrell on Lagerfeld’s mesmerizing quest for perfection
In her short speech, Anna Wintour praised Lagerfeld as a “genuine and wonderful friend” whom she had admired for decades. “He was always agile, constantly absorbing information without losing his direction.” He said he never wanted to see his clothes in museums – but when she asked him, he did participate.
The rapper and producer Pharrell, who hit it off with the fashion designer and for chanels worked, tells how Lagerfeld once portrayed him. The drawing was perfect – in his, Pharrell’s, eyes. But Lagerfeld still threw it away because he didn’t think it was good enough. That’s what fascinated him, says Pharrell, “this constant search for perfection”.
The exhibition in the Metropolitan Museum will also be exciting because Karl Lagerfeld worked mainly for Chanel – but not only. What proportion of his designs will be for Fendi, the brand for which he worked for 54 years until the penultimate day of his life? And how will the smaller brand, under its own name, be represented on the museum’s steps on Fifth Avenue and in the galleries at the opening?