Karl Lagerfeld, the haughty high priest of haute couture, dominates Lagerfeld Confidential, a documentary so uncritical it could have been commissioned by the fashion designer himself. Given privileged access, director Rodolphe Marconi plays fly-on-the-wall as Lagerfeld designs a new Chanel collection, dines with Princess Caroline of Monaco and pontificates about life, sex and fashion. In spite of the film's obvious limitations, it's unintentionally revealing, as Lagerfeld's vain attempts to strike a pose lay bare a man for whom image is everything.
With his white hair scraped back into a pony tail, outlandish black suits and fingers laden with clunky silver rings, Lagerfeld looks more like a Goth vampire than a fashion designer. He's renowned for resurrecting "the dead woman" Chanel in the 80s and he's currently one of the world's leading designers. Interviewed by the simpering, over-awed Marconi, he also proves quite a character: a rich and shameless eccentric with a droll wit and exhaustive supply of cod-philosophical aphorisms.
"THE FASHION WORLD'S NOSFERATU"
"Possessions are burdensome," he decrees, in-between flying by private jet and wandering through rooms full of clothes, objects d'art and unread books. "Fashion is ephemeral, dangerous and unfair," he spouts. Later, a male model is cursorily appraised: "His best bit is the curve of his thigh". This is a man who's clearly not used to being argued with, and it's telling that Lagerfeld Confidential has no dissenting voices - in fact there are no other voices at all (Nicole Kidman makes an appearance during a Chanel photo-shoot, but simply smiles vacantly; not even she's allowed to upstage Herr Karl). Ensconced in his ivory tower of super-rich superficiality, Lagerfeld could be the fashion world's Nosferatu: gimlet eyes hidden behind shades as they appraise each new collection; monstrous in his egotism; and, despite his protestations otherwise, painfully lonely after selling his soul to haute couture.
Lagerfeld Confidential is out in the UK on 26th October 2007.