Karl Lagerfeld Opens His First Store
Last night, on the Boulevard Saint-Germain, Karl Lagerfeld opened the first boutique dedicated to his own collection. His responsibility for the merchandise that fills hundreds of Chanel and Fendi shops around the world begged the question: How did it feel to walk into his very own retail environment? “Like looking in a mirror,” said Lagerfeld, “in every corner. At least I don’t see my face in those other places.” But the oppression of overexposure was easily balanced by the designer’s extraordinary detachment from what he does—and even from what he has become in the wondering eyes of the world. Lagerfeld’s explanation? “I’m never a victim of things, especially of my name.” He simply isn’t as attached to the material world as his ability to shape it in his image would suggest.
Not that you’d know it from the store, which is a banquet of all things Lagerfeld—from departments for men’s and women’s clothing, to a surprisingly large shoe department, to a book nook, to a department stocking fifty separate styles of Lagerfeld’s new watches. “I have a very bad relationship with time,” the designer conceded, though it might be closer to the truth to say that time has a bad relationship with him, given his utter defiance of any kind of temporal constraint. Nevertheless, he worked as closely with project director Trey Laird on the watches as he did on every other aspect of the store and its contents. That tiny strip of light on the front door? Lagerfeld insisted it be moved from the bottom of the door to the top. If it didn’t exactly make a major difference, Laird said it was a definite improvement.
The store hadn’t been open more than a few hours and Lagerfeld had already been shopping. He’d bought mesh covers for his iPad and iPhone. And he paid full price. “I’m against discounts,” he said dismissively. “If people want something, they should pay the price.” Who knows? We may be looking at the start of a retail revolution, with Karl Lagerfeld as its firebrand figurehead.