What a shame that this is such a drippy documentary. Expectations must surely have run high in fashion circles at the thought of access-all-areas to the rarefied world of Karl Lagerfeld, the white-ponytailed fashion designer at Chanel. Director Roldophe Marconi trots behind workaholic Lagerfeld as he goes about the fabulousness; photographing Nicole Kidman, weekending in Biarritz, jetting off in private planes and, of course, designing frocks. Sadly, it all looks rather dreary in his shaky video images. Meanwhile Marconi approaches his subject with all the fawning of an A-level philosophy student interviewing the Dalai Lama. He’s clearly no match for cool customer Lagerfeld, eliciting anecdotes and platitudes that the designer has no doubt been trotting out for years (‘I love to be in a crowd, I love to be alone’). Lagerfeld, though, doesn’t come out of it too badly. For all the vanity and ego, he speaks five languages and in his seventies (sorry Karl) is still the force behind three fashion houses (Chanel, Fendi and his own Karl Lagerfeld label). At times, he looks looks downright bored with the line of questioning. Marconi pussyfoots around the designer’s sexuality, clumsily asking about a ‘certain orientation’. Lagerfeld cuts him dead mid-tangle with a wry smile: ‘Spit it out or change the subject.’ He’s too good a player to let his guard down and Marconi doesn’t scratch the surface of his enigmatic self-mythologising. The film is at its best when at a distance. You get the impression that to be in Lagerfeld’s gang is to jockey endlessly for position at the top table. In a New York shop he tries on a mental gold bomber jacket. ‘Fabulous,’ coos the coterie. The designer turns to one man in the corner and ask dryly, 'Would you walk down the street with me?’ He buys the jacket nevertheless. Why the hell not? He’s Karl Lagerfeld.
Friday October 26 2007
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