Karl Lagerfeld: ModeMethode: The first comprehensive exhibition to explore the fashion universe of Karl Lagerfeld
Karl Lagerfeld is known for injecting classic shapes with new life and for taking fashion into new directions. For the past sixty years – from 1955 to today – Lagerfeld’s creations have demonstrated his extraordinary feel fort he ‘now’. A new exhibition at the austere Bundeskunsthalle Bonn (The Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany in Bonn) celebrates Karl Lagerfeld as an icon of the zeitgeist.
Right from the start of his career, the designer has worked for luxury houses such as Balmain, Patou, Fendi, Chloé, and Chanel. As creative director and chief designer of Chanel since 1983, he is regarded among experts as the sole legitimate successor to the founder and fashion legend Coco Chanel. Since 1965 Lagerfeld has been designing two – of late even four –collections per year for the Italian house of Fendi, not to mention his own eponymous label.
“Everyone in the world knows him mostly from Chanel,” curator Rein Wolfs told theguardian. “But it’s also really exciting to see the romantic elements of Chloé and the amazing craftsmanship of Fendi pieces.”
Karl Lagerfeld is celebrated as a fashion genius not only for continuously revitalising classics like the Chanel suit, but also for endlessly reinventinghimself. Having realised by the early 1960s that the future of fashion could not lie in haute couture alone, Lagerfeld embraced the younger ready-to-wear (prêt-à-porter) lines: ‘Fashion that does not reach the streets is not fashion’ (Lagerfeld). In addition to clothing, Lagerfeld designs a wide range of accessories to accompany his collections. Equally progressive in matters of distribution and marketing, he advocates bold ideas and a paradigm change in the fashion industry. Since the 1990s Lagerfeld has been complementing his work for luxury brands withcollaborations with companies that produce affordable clothes for mass audiences.
‘Modemethode’, Karl Lagerfeld’s ‘fashion method’, is his ambitious, all encompassing approach: from the initial sketch to the finished garment, from the accessories, the architectural setting and music of the fashion shows, to the photographs and graphic design of press material, advertising, catalogues and window displays – every last little detail is devised by the designer himself.
“He doesn’t like the idea of a retrospective,” explained Wolfs. “He’s about the future rather than the past. If you take away the dates of the pieces in this exhibition they’re both timeless and futuristic – that goes from that 1954 coat to the neoprene wedding dress he made for a pregnant model last year.” Harlech dubbed this a “future-spective”.
“Karl Lagerfeld : ModeMethode”/ Karl Lagerfeld’s ‘fashion method’ will be on view at the Bundeskunsthalle Bonn through September 13, 2015.