Living in the 21st century the idea of creativity within modern fashion is unquestionable and quite frankly infinite, we have so many choices of the types of clothes we want to wear whether be sports-inspired, about craft, fabrication or technical in approach, the offer is endless. Yet the great classic fashion houses such as Dior, Louis Vuitton and Chanel still dominate the fashion sphere. The guardians of these brands have a tall order to fill when they take over an established house, once the originator is no longer here. For example, once Coco Chanel had passed who was a talented enough name to fill her shoes? Living up to a tremendous legacy Karl Lagerfeld was, a designer readily recognised for his uniform of dark glasses, coiffure ponytail and fingerless gloves. In fact, he not only became the Creative Director at Chanel but also the emperor of many brands, such as Fendi, Chloé, and his namesake label as well. Find out more in Fashion, Connected Here
Karl Lagerfeld FW22 Womenswear Collection
Fashion house founders at some point have to pinpoint the perfect candidate as the next outstanding creative director for their brand. Leaving a legacy to someone else’s responsibility, as how Lagerfeld became the creative director of Chanel. Acknowledged, classic fashion houses have passed on the ‘motherland’ of their brand to someone else. Classic fashion houses such as Dior, Gucci and Louis Vuitton to name a few have all gone down this path.
Maria Grazia Chiuri became the current creative director, one of a good handful for Dior, when Christian Dior sadly passed in 1957. In 2018 Louis Vuitton welcomed Virgil Abloh as the brand’s new Men’s Artistic Director. With the new standing director, the reputation of the fashion company would still remain as the luxurious house it was birthed as. Looking at the history of some of these luxury fashion houses it is confidently evident that their legacy is still a success.
Something that Lagerfeld had to ensure with his own brand. After the announcement of his death in February 2019, he knew the importance of his decision on who would take as designer of his brand, to ensure the Karl Lagerfeld brand was to continue to succeed.
Lagerfeld’s initial fame is credited to Gabrielle Bonheur Chanel (Coco Chanel) when he took over at Chanel in 1983. At the time the fashion house was suffering when their targeted audience consisted of only older women investing in their classic skirt-suits. For Lagerfeld to accept the role of creative director with such honour, was a shock to many fashion insiders. He turned out to be a genius choice worthy of communicating her design ideas with added Lagerfeld magic crediting him now to Chanel’s brand success now.
The German designer reinvented the image of the classic French fashion house, ensuring he carried the baseline of the house with him. To this day Lagerfeld’s name continues to run a distant influence through Chanel’s fashion collections.
Lagerfeld had an eye for his visionary talent beyond his attention to clothes-wear, including illustration, photography, styling and publishing. It was with this level of success he birthed his own namesake brand.
Karl Lagerfeld FW22 Collection
Launched in 1984, the Karl Lagerfeld fashion house was born. Labelled as a luxury house, over the years has released prestige signature collections. The brand’s image reflects the details of Lagerfeld’s signature look. From cartoonish depictions of his famous ponytail to giant logos of the name itself smothered all over their clothes and accessories. The luxury collections are recognised for his Parisian men’s and women’s-wear, rock-chic attitude and tailored silhouettes.
Karl Lagerfeld FW22 Collection
The two designers had worked very closely over five years before Lagerfeld had passed. It was no question that when the day was to come, Lagerfeld was completely confident that Kim would be the next point of call for his label.
Initially, Kim’s career took off working in fashion houses such as Tommy Hilfiger and Ralph Lauren before joining Karl Lagerfeld in 2015. Collaborating very closely, side by side with Lagerfeld, Kim’s involvement was very much in keeping with the aesthetics of the company. Now, of course, he is at the helm of the brand steering this label forward.
Kim’s fortune for being creative, he says in a conversation with .Cent was that he was surrounded by fashion from an early age. This is where the designer’s realisation for him to have a long-striving career began.
.Cent asked Kim at what age did he first notice his eye for designing? Kim told us when he was young in his mum’s boutiques that she said
“My mum always said I was lucky and had a special eye for clothing.“
And that he noticed details early on, like her remembering him saying
“I love the button on your jacket mum!”
A fashion designer herself with her own boutiques drove Kim’s vision, inspired by her, to craft dresses and skirts using
“scrubs of fabrics onto dolls my mum got for me”
from leftover material from his mother’s ateliers.
In fact, Kim’s mother is credited for his venture, Kim exclaimed.
She was very chic. Growing up in a strict family she had to become a bit of rebel to wear what she wanted. She too had a passion about what she was wearing which really inspired me to do the same when I was a kid.”
When coming to designing collections for the houses, Kim works in his own design language.
As a designer spending countless nights draping over mannequins and seeing how the material would comfort the human body. Kim wouldn’t cut fabric to fit clothes for people but fabric to cut for clothes. Ultimately not thinking about the commercial fitting of clothes on a customer but a perfectly fitting garment cut to the needs of the fabric.
Kim found in his early years that working for some brands felt like he was in a bit of a box but Kim wants individualism and not to be caught between copying and being influenced, but to have free reign
“I’m not square I am a free shape.” says Kim.
As his career came into alignment with Lagerfeld is when the true connection between them became apparent. Both drew sketches communicating their designs; in drawings, they both understood each other, unlike all the others in the studio at that time.
The connection between Lagerfeld and Kim was comforting, colliding physical language with illustrative language is how the pair bonded, Kim says
“Communicating work through drawings is the most international language out there.”
Understanding the vision through detailed drawings allowed Kim to show Lagerfeld his vision in a victorious way. Kim’s career was now firmly ‘homed’ at the Karl Lagerfeld house.
Cara Loves Karl Collection.
When asked about the legacy that Kim would hold for Lagerfeld.
“I am not trying to fill his shoes I am just trying to carry his legacy one collection at a time. I want to see how he saw the collection. I’ll find my own voice within what he did. I am not trying to replicate what he did but see things how he would have and I’ll see the same in my own way. I wanted to learn the little aspects of Karl, such as what his favourite movie was? In the end, I found out I love the same films.“
There was so much expanse in the Karl Lagerfeld house for Kim. Enhancing his inspiration through everyday life and common interests with Lagerfeld is how the two thrived and work on the brand. When Kim was appointed the role of Design Director at Karl Lagerfeld there sure were some boots to fill. In Kim’s eyes, this was not competition, but a continuation of the legacy.
Through the designers’ bond, Lagerfeld praised Kim for his work and adored his vision. Kim sees how Lagerfeld saw his visions and replicates these ideas with his own innovations. Based on subjects that Lagerfeld was vastly interested in or sometimes it’s walking through the streets and being inspired by the building’s architecture and even fellow people’s fashions,
“I once saw this beautiful couple in Venice, they were dressed so immaculately when I saw them I wanted to make it into the collection.”
Kim says Karl told him to follow this quote as inspiration before anything else
“Don’t look at yourself, don’t look down, look around.”
This is how all creatives learn the limitless possibilities for a brand. The Fall/Winter ’22 collection was released early this year in May 2022
Left for Kim, was an epic collection of 60,000 artefacts to continue the Karl Lagerfeld fashion house. Connecting the two designers to last for a long time, for Kim to be with Lagerfeld in his artefacts.
“Embrace the present and invent the future.”
Karl Lagerfeld boldly stated
Karl Lagerfeld FW22 Collection
Inspired by the artefacts left for Kim. The Fall/ Winter ’22 collection was designed by Kim. Presented with the tailored suits and accessories splattered with the Karl Lagerfeld logo. Think sharp suiting, monochrome shirtings, pounded denim, rock chick and rock boys in black with splashes of heightened colour. Sportswear for a modern lifestyle and accessories all complete with that steely touch of humour and glint in the eye we expect from the brand.
Along with the Fall/ Winter collection, Karl Lagerfeld also came out with a collaborative collection in honour of the bond he shared with actress, model, activist, and close friend, Cara Delevingne. The ‘Cara Loves Karl’ collection was recently launched on the 8th of September.
A gender-neutral collection celebrates the mutual passions that Lagerfeld and Cara journeyed throughout their years together that tightened their close friendship. Featuring ready-to-wear and accessories, the collection was produced from sustainable and premium materials. Find clever twists on reverse tailoring, unisex styling, tailoring and outerwear, all in a cool wearable vibe befitting the friendship. Featuring inclusive sizes ranging from XXS to XXL. The collection’s signature looks are transformable pieces that offer a range of styling options to limitless self-expression.
Supporting the collection is an immersive 3D campaign that features Cara and Lagerfeld interacting as avatars in a digital playground.
Commenting on the Cara Loves Karl collection, as design director of the collection Kim says
“The Cara Loves Karl collection shows that clothing doesn’t need to have a gender assigned to it. Our design process with Cara was extremely collaborative, and it was inspiring to hear her share her stories, ideas and anecdotes. We share a singular vision: clothes should build confidence, respect the planet, and look great — no matter who you are.”
As a creative Hun loves to give back, he recently visited London to represent the ‘Godfather of Ceremonies’ at the Institute Marangoni London Graduation Ceremony where he shared advice and anecdotes for the graduating students of the semester.
In love and recognition to his dear friend Lagerfeld, it is evident with honour, that the legacy of Lagerfeld grew and will continue for a significant time to come, under the creative leadership of Hun Kim.
If you enjoyed reading Fashion Connected, then why not read Drawing Fashion here
All images with thanks to Karl Lagerfeld
.Cent Magazine London, Be Inspired; Get Involved