Nightshade Watches Movies: Lagerfeld Confidential !!!
When someone utters the name Karl Lagerfeld...what springs to mind? Chanel? Perhaps. The frosted ponytail? Indeed. Seasonally inappropriate collars that only Don Cherry could love? Definitely. You know me, I've had an on and off love affair with Lagerfeld, as a designer and as a “fashion celebrity” for quite some time. It's generally love/hate, but I find it quite satisfying in a quasi neurotic kind of way. I find him alternately fascinating and terrifying…as I’m sure many people do. The man is a self proclaimed “alien” and I can’t seem to shake the image of fashion’s favorite bobble-head doll, Jeanne Beker from Fashion Television, giggling like a half-crazed schoolgirl JUST to sit in his presence…it clings Jeanne…the shame.
Coming back to the subject….Lagerfeld...movie.
When I was trapped on a hugely long flight from Paris to Seattle last month, I discovered to my inane joy (you have no idea) that Air France has a staggeringly large cache of fashion based films, runway footage, and documentaries on their little in-seat screens. *squeal* For 10 hours straight (broken only by the 80th viewing of “A Bugs Life” )…I watched runway footage from the catwalks of the world…and then a little gem of a documentary that I hadn’t heard of before. Lagerfeld Confidential. Which, I’m shocked to say…changed my view of Lagerfeld completely. OK well not completely...I still think he's batshit, but in all seriousness, this NEVER happens to me, kittens. I don’t change my mind about these things lightly.
On with the review!
Lagerfeld Confidential http://www.lagerfeldconfidentiel.com/index.cfm?lng=en
Filmed in 2007, in endearingly horrible lighting, documentary style by Rodolphe Marconi the viewer is treated to a week (or maybe it was a month, I couldn’t be sure, it wasn’t specifically explained) in the life of The Lagerfeld. Fortunately for me, as a Lagerfeld critic, this film allowed an insider’s view of the daily workings of the Chanel empire…at least the Lagerfeld parts. I was rewarded with the justification of most of my assumptions…the man is insane. Now, unfortunately, when I say insane, I actually mean genius level insane…Lagerfeld is an incredibly complex man with many levels and many things about his life which are not shared with outsiders…take his dark glasses for example…he specifically demanded (in a nice way) to not be filmed without them…instructions which the camera crew did their best to subvert and got a fair amount of footage of Lagerfeld sans lunettes de soleil, and considering this documentary is considered “official” Lagerfeld obviously approved it.
Which brings me to my next point. Approved documentaries, like authorized biographies are generally a snore. The unauthorized content is soooo much juicier isn’t it? Thankfully, and to Lagerfeld’s credit, there is quite a bit of seemingly unauthorized content in this film. From the director: «I have shown the film to Karl two weeks after the final editing; it was the same version that you will see today: he has changed nothing. There was no censorship imposed upon me during the editing.»
We see Lagerfeld packing for a trip…we get to peek into his dresser drawers and see the PILES yes, PILES of paper/starched/space material collars that he wears everywhere….the plethora of ipod/nano/shuffle/mp3 music options…the multiple BOWLS of rings that he covers his fingers with before leaving the house (an assistant yelps when he pats her hand because of all the rings, owie…right on the bone). The small retail boutique contents he brings with him as presents for house staff, guests, anyone, random people he meets…Chanel for EVERYONE!!!!! I’m serious…an army of pristine, massive Chanel shopping bags follows this man wherever he goes.
I have to admit, my dears, that as much as I have spoken ill of Lagerfeld in the past…I still admire him. On seeing footage of his apartment, I had a definitive moment of fan-girl palpitations…he lived…right down the street from the flat I had occupied on the Rue D’Anjou only days previously. I know. Barfy, right?
Something else to love about this documentary is the tender side of Lagerfeld that shows itself quite unabashedly. He worships his mother for her strength of character, and her passion for life; he hates people who can’t be alone; he never sleeps on flights and won’t travel without a threadbare pillow that his grandmother made for him; he freely admits that he can’t sew…he just designs.
Lagerfeld is an artist, an artist with no secrets to hide, and no shame about his lifestyle, his desires, or his opinions…(don’t ask him what he thinks about YSL). He’s a brilliant sketch artist (loves to work in red sharpie and always draws a frame around his design sketches), a gifted photographer, a rabid magazine collector, and an avid scrap booker (yes, I’m serious).
His office looks like mine...there may be hope for me yet.
Verdict…love him, worship him, think he’s a fucking nutcase? All of the above? Definitely worth the watch. Personally, he still terrifies me slightly in that “I definitely think you’re crazy, but no one else seems to notice” kind of way.
Watch the documentary…if nothing else…Nicole Kidman’s in it, and there are naked male models (seriously), and no naked Karl Lagerfeld.
Male models in various states of undress!!!!