Who is Karl Lagerfeld? Everyone "knows" this man or at least recognizes his portrait. "Isn't that the Chanel's man?", perhaps most people will answer. Or: "Isn't he the fashion man with sunglasses and ponytail?" His name and appearance are known. But who was Karl Lagerfeld really?
Karl Lagerfeld, the person behind the fashion icon
As a Chanel lover, I could not let this book pass me by. After all, Karl Lagerfeld has for many years been the brain behind the Couture house Chanel and ensured that Chanel did not fall into oblivion but became an unprecedented - timeless - success.
Karl: I try to bring Chanel style evolution by thinking of Goethe's saying: "create a better future by building on the past."
The designer liked to quote philosophers and writers. He was a well-read person and owned a few hundred thousand books. Karl was a great talent with a big ego and a completely own created image.
Quote or be quoted
Karl (German by origin) started his career as a fashion designer in Paris around 1955 and it didn't take long before he became known and was quoted himself. His statements were always surprising, testified by great intelligence, but could also be hard and offensive.
Such as a false remark towards an actress, who he thought was "too fat".
Or a kick in the back of Ines de la Fressange (who turned his back on him after many years of collaboration). Not so nice... He was therefore a complex person, let's just say it, because we also know very well that statements by famous people are often pulled out of context and start to live their own life.
A savant idiot
Karl Lagerfeld was a genius with a vision. Like his friend Yves Saint Laurent, he was able to design clothes that the whole world loved for decades. He was hyper intelligent and had a sense of style, beauty and art. However, his intelligence made him difficult as well. Apart from all this, there were more things by Karl Lagerfeld that did not make him a beloved personality. His extravagant life also disappointed many people. Spending a fortune on a cat, deliberately not wanting children (supported by yet again 'surprising' statements) and living a life of extreme excess and opulence ... It made him as cold as his flawless appearance.
Read after all, get inspired and enjoy
However, this book was an eye opener for me. It is so easy to judge a person by his or her image. But you can only understand what lies behind an image, if you take a look behind the scenes.
Laurent Allen-Caron has made this book a simple, truthful and easy-to-read book. Laurent is a journalist himself and you notice that as a reader. He writes briefly and forcefully and stays close to the facts. His sources and notes are carefully mentioned.
The quotes make the book lively, as if you hear Karl talking. The book causes a smile here and there, for example:
"At the end of the sixties, fifteen years after his arrival in Paris, the press could finally spell the name Karl Lagerfeld flawlessly."
To Karl or not to Karl?
I just wonder if Karl Lagerfeld would have been happy with it... The book is compact, not too thick (240 pages) and is sober.
Karl probably would have preferred a thick, heavy coffee table book, full of photos, luxury and extravagant photos of his creations and himself ...
But there are more than enough of those books too. I love this book. This book is an honest and well-written portrait of an impressive life and man Karl Lagerfeld.
Read all about the sewing-magazines in Europe.
This article is in the Dutch Language. But soon we will update the article in the English Language and attach even more sewing-magazines.
You al welcome to send information about them all.
How do you make your own Chanel-inspired jacket? There is a simple answer to that question: read the books by Claire Shaeffer! This American lady has written many books about the history of Haute couture, how to make your own couture and in particular everything about Chanel couture.
Her books are for all seamstress or hobby-sewers. But they are also interesting for people who are not interested in sewing.
The history of Haute couture
Claire Shaeffer is an expert in Haute couture. She has a wealth of knowledge and an own collection of vintage couture. She gained her knowledge by looking around in museums and studying couture in detail. Couture houses often do not reveal their secrets. However, Claire has unraveled many couture secrets by studying original vintage items. These literately inside studies enabled her to gather a lot of information that normally remains behind closed doors.
Think of it as recipes from special menus from top restaurants. It is not only about the ingredients of a menu, but also about the specific cooking techniques that suddenly make eating a plate something very special. Apart from detailed sewing techniques, the books contain many beautiful photos of special vintage clothing.
Classic and timeless chic!
A beautiful Chanel jacket worn on trendy jeans. Who doesn't want this? Or a beige tweed coat for the winter? Just as timelessly beautiful as the perfectly fitting business blazer you would like to wear on occasions where you need to look beauty and brains. Everyone likes photography and information about the fashion of the past and the fashion of today. The only difference between a Vogue or Hapaar's Bazaar magazine and Claire Shaeffer's books is the idea to make these great pieces of clothing yourself. Perhaps you should first start with making potholders or pajama pants, but after a few years of practice it will probably work...
Claire Shaeffer & Chanel Couture
Anyone who says 'Chanel jackets' in the sewing-world, says Claire Shaeffer. Conversely too. Claire Shaeffer is a Chanel expert par excellence. Her books: The Couture Cardigan Jacket, The Couture Skirt and Designer trims deal specifically with the phenomenon: the Little French Jacket.
The books are about how-to instructions and inspirations for color combinations, choices of fabrics and the very specific decorative trims and fringes of these jackets. A very nice ode to Coco Chanel. Some of her books were reissued in 2013, exactly one hundred years after Coco Chanel opened its first store in Deauville.
A gift or a "silent" hint!
If you have a girlfriend who likes to work with needle and thread: the books for this special lady are nice to give as a gift. Perhaps the silent hint is understood. You hope she will make a DIY Chanel jacket for you some day....
The word "day" is misplaced here. It is known that the "making time" of the Chanel jackets is on average 80 hours. And don't forget to add a lot of reading hours too, because you will soon loose the time if you step into the world of Haute couture through the eyes of Claire Shaeffer.