Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unframed: Designer Karl Lagerfeld Takes a Look at Himself

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Unframed: Designer Karl Lagerfeld Takes a Look at Himself

Article excerpt

By Merle Ginsberg From Women's Wear Daily IF YOU ALWAYS wanted to see the softer side of Karl Lagerfeld, here's your chance.

In his new photo book, "Off the Record" (Scalo Publishers, $49.95), just out in the bookstores, Lagerfeld reveals a romantic, even sentimental, nature that is usually hidden behind 18th-century fans and clever remarks.

The photos, most of them fashion shoots built around imagined stories, show a man obsessed with literature, the '20s, silent-movie stars and a certain irony that is as seductive as it is amusing.

"It's my passion these days," Lagerfeld says about photography, which he picked up eight years ago as something of a whim. "I must be careful lately not to design just the clothes I want to photograph.

"When I'm planning photographs, I think about a certain girl. For Lagerfeld, I think about Nadja. For Chloe, I think about Linda Evangelista. For Chanel, I think about Claudia and, now, Shalom. After all, I don't wear the dresses.

"Photog-raphy helps me with fashion, but fashion is also all about an image, no? These are the girls I love to photograph, they're an inspiration.

"Linda is the best for photos. She is divine, unique! She is not a perfect beauty, but she has something nobody else has.

"And Claudia, she is not just a sweet little girl. No Barbie, eh? She's much better than that. And I'm mad for Nadja Auermann.

I make them safe, I don't make them ugly, and I tell stories with them - silent movies. I don't want to make films. It takes too long. So I make photos that are like films, like movie stills.

"You can never make the same photo. There's always one last-minute factor that changes it.

"I also like taking pictures of personalities for magazines. I'm doing the Queen Mother of England for the London Times. She asked for me, probably because I know her. But I cannot work for too many magazines - because not all of them are ones I like. But we cannot give names, no?"

Lagerfeld shoots all his own ad campaigns these days - and that's a lot of campaigns - maintaining four full-time photo assistants and a very good studio.

"When we all go on trips for the campaigns, they are my holidays. …

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