Even in an industry full of eccentrics, Karl Lagerfeld is an icon: those omnipresent shades, leather gloves and Edwardian collars, heavily accessorized with chains and enough silver rings to do some serious damage with just a handshake. He is the man who once said at an interview with Elle, ‘It’s too easy to forgive. I love revenge.’ What could be better than an hour and a half of Karl preaching his philosophies?
Therefore, I’ve finally got the chance to watch Rodolphe Marconi’s new documentary Lagerfeld Confidential. The movie is the product of a two-year collaboration between Karl and the director, who shot more than 300 hours of footage of the designer at work and play and touted the film as a profound peek behind The Kaiser’s sunglasses.
The film turns out to be like a bunch of random Karl footage without any explanation or reflexion. It does show him doing 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 joyfully tries on a gold baseball jacket at a Christian Dior boutique. Despite the sleep pacing and rambling style, there are some fascinating facets and ruthless comments of the designer which are just too good to be missed.
Contrary to popular belief, Karl does not run around Chanel screaming at people and is actually quite genial to his employees. It’s also worth noting that he refuses to travel without a pillow made by his childhood nurse. Who knew The Kaiser had a soft side for cuddling? Karl also discusses openly about his family, which would make a great soap opera. In spite of describing his childhood as perfectly normal, he calls his mother a ‘nasty’ and ‘frivolous’ woman who ‘made slaves of her lovers and husbands’ and ‘never thanked anyone’. When Karl informed his mother that he’s been sexually assaulted by a pair of adults, she replied: ‘It’s your own fault, just look at you!’ Yet, he claims to have adored her and thought ‘other mothers were stupid.’ He also talks about his sister being a lesbian and getting expelled from school for having sex with a teacher. Karl then shares his opinion on social problems such as prostitution. He remarks that prostitution is socially vital because ‘we can’t all afford mistresses… without relief, we’d all become murderers’. When comes to his living spaces, The Kaiser is just as messy as us: a mantelpiece strewn with a dozen iPods and hundreds of chunky silver rings and accessories, drawers are full of his Edwardian collars and piles of books stretch skyward like teetering Towers of Pisa. And the most hilarious quote actually comes from the Chanel bathroom, when the designer put up the sign, ‘Pissing everywhere isn’t very Chanel.’ .
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