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HomeFashionCostume Institute Celebrates the Multidimensionality of Karl Lagerfeld's Vision

Costume Institute Celebrates the Multidimensionality of Karl Lagerfeld's Vision

One of the most famous and elusive figures on the planet, Karl Lagerfeld adopted his image to navigate public life. He remains the fascinating subject that inspired the Costume Institute’s highly anticipated exhibition, “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty.” exhibition. Entering the show, visitors pass two dresses in a corner, then turn a corner and face a wall-sized projection of clips from Loïc Prigent’s video archive of Lagerfeld’s sketches. Every stroke of the designer’s gloved hand on the white paper has a sound. Together, these gestures and noises form a symphony of staccato, as confident and precise as an image polished by the designer himself.

The Blanche Table.

Image: Courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art

However, correctly Take a few steps and the tone and perspective change. There, you’ll find one of Lagerfeld’s actual desks (he had four, Wendy Yu curator Andrew Bolton notes in the catalog, each “used for a specific purpose: sketches, invoices, business correspondence and personal correspondence.” ). Littered with art supplies and piled high with printables, this drafting table features an elaborate tablescape. Bolton explained that the books (on subjects such as Constructivism, Aubrey Beardsley, Indian jewelry) were carefully selected from the designer’s own library and referenced specific themes mentioned in the exhibition. Beside the table is a custom dressing gown by the designer and a pair of monogrammed shoes.

The change in scale from super-sized to life-sized, venue, professional (7L studio) to personal size, hinted at the clear and existential questions posed in the exhibition from the very beginning , ie: How you go about understanding someone? Is it really possible to know another person?

Bolton believes we can learn basic truths about another person: “I think you can know a person by the way they work,” he said during a walkthrough yesterday. And what better way to get to know workaholics (Lagerfeld being that) than through their work? Things get trickier, however, when trying to separate a work from its creator. “I don’t believe you can separate people from work,” Bolton continued, “but who is that person?”


Lagerfeld is undoubtedly a cultural A master of people and communication. Born in the (19) era of scientific mass production, preferring the era of enlightenment (he refers to Century as his “backbone”), but he also fits seamlessly into the digital age. He is fluent; in addition to being trilingual, he absorbed Chanel’s long list (camellias, quilting, tweed, pearls, etc.) and created an alphabet for Fendi in the form of a double-F logo. And that’s not all: Bolton sees painting as Lagerfeld’s most important, personal, personal form of self-expression. To emphasize the importance of drawing in Lagerfeld’s work, whenever possible, garments are accompanied by sketches of their birth.


If Lagerfeld is a superhero, his “quirk” or special and distinctive characteristic is his ability to exist interdimensionally. Paper is the designer’s favorite material, arguably the canvas, for taking two-dimensional drawings for studio premieres and translating them into three-dimensional garments. Bolton notes that many designers sketch as part of their process, but Karl says, “‘When I draw, I see [the design] in three dimensions.’ Usually sketching is a means to an end, but for Karl it is an end in itself.” Lagerfeld’s drawings provide information and attitude; they capture the detail and atmosphere of the design.


In 2021 “In America: A Lexicon of Fashion,” Bolton set out to create an emotional language for American fashion design; in “Karl Lagerfeld: A Line of Beauty”, he used William Hogarth 19 century paper The Analysis of Beauty assign form 2021 to designer’s signature dichotomy; says curator, Lagerfeld Push and pull (sometimes synergy) between the “Teutonic/German side and the French side” – in other words, his head and heart. “For Hogarth, the S-curve represented vitality and movement, in stark contrast to the straight line, which connotes stillness, inactivity, and even death,” Bolton wrote in the catalogue. The artist believed that beauty lay in turning the The two are intertwined in a serpentine line.




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