K ARL AND K RIS­TEN COCO ‘Once and For­ever’, Karl Lager­feld’s lat­est film, is equally cheeky and chic. Laura Brown re­counts her sur­prise cast­ing. Pho­tographed by Olivier Sail­lant.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - THE CULTURE -

The call came early – 4am, in fact. Out of the sen­sory blur came the tin­kling French ac­cent of a photo pro­ducer who works with Karl Lager­feld and Chanel. “Karl is mak­ing a movie,” she said. “And he would love you to be in it. Play­ing a jour­nal­ist. You’d need to get on a flight to Paris tonight and go straight to set to­mor­row morn­ing. What do you think?” Um, let me think about that, oui. Like I wouldn’t. Like any­one wouldn’t. Hav­ing had the priv­i­lege of rel­a­tively re­cent en­try into Karl’s or­bit, I’d quite hon­estly fly to Paris to clean out his fridge and re­cy­cle his Diet Coke bot­tles. But as any­one who is a fan of Chanel and the man be­hind it knows, the madly pro­lific Lager­feld – in be­tween pro­duc­ing eight an­nual Chanel col­lec­tions (of­ten shown in ex­otic, far-flung lo­cales), five for Fendi, and his own col­lec­tion; shoot­ing Chanel and Fendi cam­paigns, mag­a­zine cov­ers, and fash­ion ses­sions; sketch­ing; paint­ing; and gen­er­ally be­ing the smartest man in the room – also likes to make movies.

Well, short films. But short films with a grand story – the story of Chanel. “The idea is this,” Lager­feld ex­plains about his lat­est, ti­tled Once and For­ever. “The fi­nal im­age of Chanel is not her youth, her lovers, her beauty – it’s the old lady.” While Chanel’s life and lovers are sto­ried (her most famed, Boy Capel, died trag­i­cally in a car ac­ci­dent in 1919), he is, of course, ab­so­lutely right. The pop­u­lar vi­sion of Coco is not her great beauty, her Deauville stripes; it’s the old woman, in pearls and a hat. “It’s a vis­ual im­pact you can­not miss,” he con­tin­ues. “Peo­ple who know the his­tory of fash­ion know, but the pub­lic doesn’t see the woman, who she re­ally was. That’s the story of the movie.”

Kris­ten Ste­wart, al­ready in char­ac­ter, as Karl Lager­feld coaches

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