Reflection in a Mirrored Glass | KARL LAGERFELD, A LOVE STORY
Dearest Monsieur Lagerfeld,
My heart feels heavy with the deepest emotions yet full of gratitude today while writing this. How could someone express a heartfelt Thank you to another person who had the ability to give a sense of belonging to other unique souls who felt a bit out of place on this Earth yet did their best to use their own creative ways to make their impact in the world.
“I am very down to Earth just not this Earth.”
Like the rest of the fashion world and beyond, I was fascinated by your creative genius and riveting innate talent, your elegant yet edgy style, your mischievous sense of humor and your erudition. Above all your permanency in the world of fashion has been granted way beyond the attributes mentioned above by your ever-evolving vision and ability to sense what’s next, your prevalent intuitive nature and the understanding that the only constant coordinate in the world is – change. Always aware of the fleeting aspect of fashion per se and driven by the understanding that this very moment is already a moment of the past a few seconds later, you often said, “Once a collection is over I immediately start thinking about the next one…If you want respect for your past, it means that you have a problem with your present and even more with your future.”
You re-created the basics, the core elements of Chanel by giving them a new, modern, chic twist and fearlessly reinvented the DNA of the world-renowned fashion house without breaking its code, “Chanel was a sleeping beauty. Not even a beautiful one. She snored.”
Karl, you gallantly disrupted your industry by accepting to be the very first high-end designer to create a collection for a fast fashion brand like H&M. The collection sold out in one day allowing everyone independent of their budget to share your dream.
Most girls my age would probably dream of being your models; I never wished such a thing. From the very first moment I laid eyes on you in 1989 when the Revolution abolished communism in our country and we first had access to TV channels that showcased fashion, I wanted to be like you: dress up in impeccable white shirts, blazers and fitted pants and yes! that signature tie, an outfit that became my signature while hosting the TV shows in German language in Romania. You became my point of reference and represented style at its best. Both of us, we share an obsession for books and this remains our strongest bond.
A tri-lingual individual of impressive erudition your passion for knowledge was well respected by anyone who had the honor of spending time with you. However, your self-deprecating humor allowed people to feel less intimidated in your presence while well aware that we were witnessing genius. “Reading is the biggest luxury in my life, the thing that makes me the happiest. I want to read everything, to see everything, to be informed. I’m kind of a universal concierge, not an intellectual.”
The owner of a self-described ‘Google mind’ you had amassed a tremendous amount of eclectic information and created a relevant persona who existed independently of the labels you represented.
People fell in love with Karl Lagerfeld. Period. Whether it was a Chanel or Fendi piece or a T-shirt from your eponymous line, you were perceived as a larger than life, iconic personality and a visual provocateur. The fluent effortless transition from sketching to photography, film and publishing allowed you to create unforgettable, ahead of their time, campaigns. And all this without taking yourself too seriously, “Apart from sketching, talking and reading there’s not much I can do. I mean I know how to open a fridge but I don’t know how to cook.”
As the most prolific designer of our times despite being in the public eye for so long you remain a mystery, a fiercely private man we thought we knew but in reality we never did. Your legacy will live on way beyond the riveting collections. Your genius is a testimonial that fashion is not such a frivolous thing after all; it is knowledge, research, reinvention and humanity. It’s a form of love. I picture you now drawing and quipping on a cloud somewhere over the rainbow.
“I don’t like being an actor because my life is already a pantomime. I am like a caricature of myself. Like a mask. For me, the Carnival of Venice lasts all year.”
The world shall add – and what a carnival it has been!
Ich liebe Dich, Karl!