Saturday, October 27, 2007

LAGERFELD CONFIDENTIEL - fascinating fashion doc

LAGERFIELD CONFIDENTIEL is a documentary consisting largely of interviews with, and behind the scenes footage of the life of, Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld. The work of Rodolphe Marconi, the documentary looks pretty awful, especially in interior night scenes where the Super 8 footage looks grainy and unclear. Moreover, this is another of those docs that you could happily watch on TV. Having said all that, LAGERFELD CONFIDENTIEL is absolutely rivetting and not just for those with an interest in fashion. Yes, it satisfies a HELLO! magazine urge when you see him jetting around with Princess Caroline of Monaco or photographing Nicole Kidman. But the real interest is the brief one-on-one interviews. Here Lagerfeld reveals that behind the carefully cultivated look and megabucks lifestyle, he is a true original and a wonderful character. He comes across as very smart, very funny, intolerant of bullshit and people not following his precise instructions, but also rather humble. He acknowledges tha he has been lucky all is life. He grew up in post-war Germany, the son of an apparently fascinating, domineering, charming woman. When it became clear he was homosexual, this caused his mother no problems. After all, his half-sister was lesbian and his mother had been in Berlin in the 20s! So, Lagerfeld lived a rather spoiled, secure life in what could have been a very repressive situation, and eventually came to Chanel. I thought it was a shame that the doc didn't tell us more about the mechanics of what made him a great designer, but I suppose you can't have everything. We do have one scene where, aside from all the flashbulbs, with his trademark dark glasses taken off, he sits and draws a new outfit. It's amazing to think that behind all the merchandising and publicity, it still boils down to a person with a pen and a piece of paper and his or her imagination.

LAGERFELD CONFIDENTIEL played Berlin and London 2007 and is currently on release in the UK, US and France.

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