Tuesday, July 29, 2008
ALL HAIL KARL THE GREAT
Once upon a time last Fall I heard whispers of a new documentary about to hit the international fashion circuit. A film so unique in that it would follow the private day to day activities of the 21st century's most illustrious fashion designer in a way the has never been revealed to the public before. Of course, this God-like, larger than life King of the fashion world in none other than Karl Lagerfeld, the documentary appropriately being titled Lagerfeld Confidential.
Director Rodolphe Marconi has spent the past two years trailing Mr. Lagerfeld through the daily n'importe quoi's of his business, personal and public life, giving viewers a rare glimse into the unique workings of a genius's brain. Hopefully Marconi will be able to shed some light on how this veritable renaissance man is capable of creating more that 6 collections annually for Chanel alone, as well as several for Fendi and his own Lagerfeld Gallery Line, yet manage to find time to work on his photography artwork, create mixed CDs and design for various fashion and luxury firms that solicit his creative talents for special products (think H&M, Dom Perignon, Colette).
Anyone who is interested in catching a glimpse can visit the film`s MySpace page, which has a series of wonderful clips and trailers from the movie. As I have mentioned in my writing before, I am a big fan of people who have a unique worldview and who have no problem giving their opinions, regardless of how others may react. Instead of telling people what they want to hear, they speak the truth, and do I ever get excited when people express these simple, undeniable truths. They make me feel as though a weight that has been created by the heavy, false illusions of society has finally been removed. Needless to say, Kaiser Karl is a big fan of speaking his wise mind and reveals his wisdom throughout the film, transforming from artist to unexpected guru. In even better news, this food for the stylish soul is almost entirely shown in the clips on MySpace, so one doesn`t need to hunt down the film to take in Karl`s personal mantras.
After watching the trailer I was as eager to see this film as a small child is on Christmas morning; however, a full copy of the documentary was nowhere to be found. Surely it must be available somewhere. Step 1) google it. This took me to the official website of the video where one can purchase the DVD. But fashion has never been a huge believer in Canada and decided that a copy cannot be purchased and sent there. Step 2) Amazon.com. Sorry, but your request is not available. Shoot! Step 3) Search the web relentlessly until a copy pops up on some blog or movie site that I can watch online. No such luck...
Still, I`m not one to give up when I put my mind to something, so I would periodically search the internet for the film over the cold months that followed. One unexpected evening in May I finally stumbled upon my diamond in the rough...in five parts, all complete with Japanese subtitles. Immediately I started to watch the live-stream download with a degree of focus usually reserved for exam writing and shoe shopping. I had waited for and anticipated the brilliance of this film for too long not to give it my full attention.
Yet somehow - quelle horreur! - I find my thoughts wondering...wondering over to the Teen Vogue website which I have opened unawares in a new browser. The sound of Lagerfeld's voice lingers in the background, but now feels most distant. Could I actually be bored? After I waited so long to be let in to the secret world of King Karl? Maybe this was just the typical reaction for any movie where the anticipation builds over such a long period that my expectations reach higher than the Eiffel Tower, impossible to be met. But at the same time I was more excited for the long-awaited Sex and the City Movie than a Miu Miu sample sale yet was gleefully jumping out of my seat from the second I heard Carrie's familiar telltale voice to long after the credits began to roll. So is it actually possible that this film was a wee-bit overated? I guess my opinion by the end of the film was that all the best parts, Karl's wise and opinionated musings, had aleady been shown in the trailer and clips I had seen months beforehand - a common trap of the film industry. Perhaps it was also that my French isn't exactly up to snuff and maybe the slight language barrier prevented me from getting the entire meaning of what was happening in the various scenes.
So all in all, Lagerfeld Confidential wasn't a bad film. In fact it was quite nice. It would be particularly enjoyed by someone who has seen little Lagerfeld footage in the past. To more seasoned Karl-o-philes, there is not that much new to see. As the French would put it, the footage is lacking a certain je ne sais quoi. Nevertheless, I would still recommend the film to fellow fashioniastas if they can get their Tiffany-laden hands on a copy. It is not however worth going out of one's way to find.
So I will leave you here with a few of my favorite Lagerfeld quotes from Rodolphe Marconi's two-year labour of love.
"I don't want to be a reality in peoples' lives, I want to be like an apparition."
"I hate people who cannot be alone."
"What I love about photos is that they evoke an instant that is thereafter lost forever."
"To love someone is great, but you also have to like a person who loves you, the way you want to be loved, at the time when you love them. That's a whole other thing."
"Fashion is fleeting, dangerous and unjust."
"I only change; I am attached to nothing."
"I am a total improvisation."
Ti amo Karl. Gracie Mille.