Tag Archives: Karl Lagerfeld

Ashes to Ashes…


Karl Lagerfeld’s fashion show in Paris for Fall 2011 was an Ash Wednesday kind of show.  With its decor of charcoal floor lining and fumes, it seemed  inspired by some apocalyptic scene … a few days later Japan was hurt by an earthquake and a tsunami. Interviewed on French TV, Lagerfeld made this witty remark: ” There were so many colors last summer. Colors are like sweets. If you have too much of them, you end up with an indigestion, you need some salty food as a reprieve. ”

Mostly black,  that’s what I saw during  Fashion week in New York and it came as a surprise. This was a vocabulary from the 90’s that seemed buried forever. Yes! Colors are back for this summer, patterns and solid colors with a 70’s feeling, a youthful indignation that seems quite right. After the crisis, after all the world had been through, it was time to look ahead to greener thoughts and an anti-depressing wardrobe. It will only last a season.

The predicted return of luxurious ( and probably very expensive price tags) garments lined with fur, cut in tweeds or wrapped in cashmere for Fall 2011 goes hand in hand with dark colors: anthracite for Lagerfeld, black for Ralph Lauren or Michael Kors.

Too bad, I was ready for more colors…

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Coco toujours…


There is this eternal virtual rivalry between Coco Chanel and Karl Lagerfeld.

When the Kaiser seems to reign over the fashion world,

Coco makes her come back on the first step of the podium.

Yes Lagerfeld maybe all over the place but so is Coco, noticeably with a new biography , “Coco Chanel: The Legend and the Life” by British writer Justine Picardie.

Personally,  I still think that L’irregulière by Edmonde Charles Roux remains the best.  But, in the end  how many books can you read on one fashion designer even if she/he is a genius !?. In the past year or two, there has also been a Lifetime television special starring Shirley Mac Laine and two films. I do have a tender spot for Coco before Chanel by Anne Fontaine starring Audrey Tautou. Many disliked the movie finding it too shallow. This is precisely why I liked it. I thought the tempo was right, a light tune mademoiselle Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel might have whispered between her teeth with her lips party closed holding on to that pin. In the movie, we have a nice insight on her tastes, her sources of inspiration for the glamorous days to some.

Well again,  how many films can one see on Chanel?

Be prepared! According to Justine Picardie quoted in Women’s Wear Daily “You could make a dozen movies about Chanel and still not have covered her entire story”. God forbid!

Selected bibliography on Mademoiselle in French

  • Edmonde Charles-RouxL’Irrégulière ou mon itinéraire Chanel, Grasset, 1974
  • Paul MorandL’Allure de Chanel, Hermann, 1976
  • Edmonde Charles-RouxLe temps Chanel, Éditions du Chêne, 1979
  • Lilou Marquand, Chanel m’a dit…, JCLattés, 1990
  • Isabelle Fiemeyer, Coco Chanel, un parfum de mystère, Éditions Payot & Rivages, 1999
  • Louise de VilmorinMémoires de Coco, Editions Gallimard, 1999
  • Henry Gidel (textes), Coco Chanel. – Paris : J’ai lu, 2000
  • Claude Delay, Chanel solitaire, Gallimard, 1983 : J’ai Lu, 2001
  • Brigitte Labbé et Michel Puech (textes), Jean-Pierre Joblin (illustrations), Coco Chanel. – Toulouse : Milan jeunesse, coll. « De vie en vie » n° 17, 2005
  • Cyril Eder, Les comtesses de la Gestapo. Grasset, Paris 2007
  • Marcel HaedrichCoco Chanel, Coco par Chanel, Gutenberg, 2008 (ISBN 2352360404)

Also to see Karl Lagerfeld’s own movie on Chanel http://chanel-news.chanel.com/fr/

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The other Sun King….


If I were French President Nicolas Sarkozy, I would be rather anxious as yet another Sun King is rising over France. If you do not know who the man is, if you are Candide arriving in France – I should probably say Paris- , you would bet that this man is ruling the country. With his white hair dressed in a ponytail looking like Louis XIV himself, nicknamed The Kaiser (The Emperor), he has an ubiquitious presence that leaves little doubt on his level of influence.

And not only Sarkozy should fear him but also Royal, Villepin and all the future candidates at the next French presidential election. Arriving in France on June 22nd, I discovered on the stands a special editon of Libération entirely dedicated to Karl Lagerfeld. “Karl Lagerfeld Rhabille Libé” ( Karl Lagerfeld Dresses up Libération”);

The issue is a collector with wonderful large spreads with drawings by the stylist himself. On Afghanistan, on the defeat of Les Bleus, Lagerfeld has his says. Wonderful drawings, full of humour! A real pleasure! In the stores ( only in France), you can buy the limited edited bottles of Coca Light redesigned by Chanel creative director.

As the world knows by now, Karl Lagerfeld has lost superfluous kilos thanks to a strict diet and… Coca Coca light. I remember interviewing Lagerfeld’s chef for French Vogue and thinking to myself that following a diet in such a way ( top ingredients, top service) must have made things a little easier. An ad campaign with the bottle is in all the magazines. Coca Light had asked other designers in the past ( Sonia Rykiel, Manolo Blahnik). This time the campaign was shot by Karl Lagerfeld himself and features Coco Rocha and Baptiste Giabiconi holding the limited edition aluminum bottle on a flying tray.

Lagerfeld is brilliant, wordly, creative, multi talented and multi tasked. His name is everywhere in France on the “cul de bus” , on the buses, in the metro, in the press.Today he will be interviewed on French TV LCI. What is the next step… The Kayser at The Elysées? A total reconciliation between France and Germany? Now what would be Lagerfeld first move at the Elysées?

I would say following the famous line “Never too thin, never too rich”, replace the ISF ( Impot Sur les Grandes Fortunes) by a new tax. The thinner, the richer, the more taxes you have to pay !

I am waiting for your comments and ideas!

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Saint Tropez : a piece of fashion nostalgia


“Do you know the way to Saint Tropez?” asks  Women’s Wear Daily on the cover its May 12th edition reporting on the recent presentation of  Chanel 2010-2011 Cruise collection on the port .

The Cruise collection

“There is something magical about Saint Tropez. It is so easy and it does not require complicated clothes”, said Karl Lagerfeld to WWD. He favored chiffon dresses for a Hippie revival look.

Fashion was always part of the mythology of Saint Tropez. Paul Poiret might have been the first couturier to make Saint Tropez his home, preferring  the secluded calm of his Villa Treizaine to the bustle of the port. Today many fashion designers including Tommy Hilfiger or Catherine Malandrino vacation in Saint Tropez.  Yet, Karl Lagerfeld is right . Saint Tropez has invented a certain type of style, a laid back, lazy fashion that happened on the port, in the late Sixties, somewhere between la Plage de la Ponche where real Tropeziens loved to go and the “new “port where elegant Chris-Craft competed with pristine yachts.

When the Rock and Roll  stars invaded Saint Tropez, Martine Vachon had her Vachon store planted on the left side of the port when looking at the sea. She designed unpretentious and rather conservative collections with lots of knitwear and marine dresses and jackets. Her designs did not make it in the history of fashion but her shop was a must. Parisians (In the late Sixties it was mostly Parisians and celebrities who visited  Saint Tropez) who enjoyed all the fashion in the world year around could not help buying a few items “ for the Summer”. There was also “Choses”. The store still exists. It was the place to find tee-shirts before the name even existed and espadrilles that lasted – if lucky! – for the Summer months. But the best was Lothar’s. This German maker had opened his store in 1969 and specialized in faded tie-dyed cottons. Pale blues, washed out greens and discolored pinks were the basic colors of his collections that included trousers, shorts, long dresses and simply cut shirts. Nothing was more sexy than a blue Lothars shirt largely opened on a tanned chest. Lothar’s men resembled the Blue Men of the desert.  Gunther Sachs, the volatile husband of Brigitte Bardot,had adopted that dégaine.The total look was still trendy and there was no shame in buying the green trousers matching the green skirts or the same burgeoning top worn without a bra. Between the thin layer of Lothars cotton and the skin, there was nothing. An impeccable figure was required. Jane Birkin was the reference. Shopping at Lothars meant avoiding stops at Sennequier for a café Liegois or at the boulangerie for a slice of Tarte tropezienne.Miam, Miam!

Miam! Miam!

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