The late Karl Lagerfeld was often typecast as a fashion designer devoted mostly to black and white, yet he was one of the earliest enthusiasts of Ettore Sottsass’s Memphis design movement, characterized by bright colors, strong patterns and abstract designs.
Indeed, the German designer’s Monaco apartment in the ’80s served as a showcase of Memphis furniture, complete with a boxing-ring bed.
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“He used to play with so many colors,” enthused Hun Kim, design director of Karl Lagerfeld, who never fails to find surprises in the archive.
Kim sought to capture the playful, upbeat feeling’s in Lagerfeld’s shows in the ’80s and early ’90s, when models actually smiled, twirling in their colorful outfits.
But he etched the Memphis theme with restraint and finesse, softening its harsh lines and garish colors and preferring mostly soft, generous shapes and pastel shades, including lilac, light blue and pale yellow.
Black and white remains, for poplin shirtdresses, a shirt with corset seaming, and a striking trenchcoat in a performance mesh — hardly rainproof, but the sleeves do puff up nicely when pushed up.
Kim took pains to point out more subliminal branding, the Karl logo almost camouflaged in a dazzle-print denim, and the repeating KL monogram resembling a geometric print.
During a preview on Tuesday, Karl Lagerfeld’s Paris headquarters was being readied for a client event, given them a closeup glimpse at the Met Gala outfits Kim created for Michelle Yeoh, Amber Valletta and Jared Leto, who stole the night with his lifelike Choupette cat suit.
Lagerfeld’s beloved pet Birman now also appears as a fictional cyclops character as part of a capsule range with Darcel Disapppoints, whose one-eye caricatures Lagerfeld first discovered at landmark Paris concept store Colette.
There will also be limited-edition figurines of the Karl cyclops, which Kim plans to buy in multiples. “It’s really cute,” he enthused.
Launch Gallery: Karl Lagerfeld RTW Spring 2024
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