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Koch Lorber Films
NEW YORK — Those who consider the world of fashion to be superficial will find little to alter their opinion in “Lagerfeld Confidential,” Rodolphe Marconi’s film about famed designer Karl Lagerfeld. This shallow, impressionistic documentary offers a fly-on-the-wall perspective of its subject’s jet-setting lifestyle but little actual analysis or information as to why he is important. The film recently received its U.S. theatrical premiere at New York’s Film Forum.
Lagerfeld, famed for his visionary designs for the House of Chanel, is one of the most important figures in fashion. He certainly has cultivated a suitable look to sustain his glamorous aura: With his white ponytail, high Edwardian collar, fingerless gloves, huge sunglasses and all-black clothing, he looks, as he accurately puts it, like a “defrocked priest.”
Much screen time is given to interviews with Lagerfeld, who offers many pithy philosophical observations while actually divulging very little about his private life. Typical of the filmmaker’s reluctance to press very far is the fact that, while many archival photos are included of the handsome designer in his younger years, there are no glimpses of him during the period in which he had gained a massive amount of weight.
We do get to observe the designer attending various fashion shows; working with his celebrity model Nicole Kidman (who is seen but not heard from); sketching designs; interacting with various associates and assistants; and most disturbingly, taking many photographs of nearly naked male models.
Unfortunately, those without extensive previous knowledge of Lagerfeld’s legendary career will find little here to enlighten them, a sad waste considering the relative lack of serious cinematic explorations into the fashion world.
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