Hey There Pretty Birds,
When Louis Vuitton asked me to do a post on the brand’s new project “The Icon and The Iconoclasts, Celebrating Monogram” I was very curious to find out the details of what they were looking for. “The Icon and The Iconoclasts,” the French Luxury House’s latest ode to its timeless logo pattern, features personal interpretations by six design and art leaders: Christian Louboutin, Cindy Sherman, Frank Gehry, Karl Lagerfeld, Marc Newson and Rei Kawakubo. To document the exciting project, LV commissioned images and films from industry photographers, illustrators and filmmakers including Steven Meisel, Jean-Philippe Delhomme, Erwan Frotin, Gordon von Steiner, Michael Avedon, Johnny Dufort and Pierre Debusschere. My task, alongside five other Italy based bloggers, is to interpret the work of one of the designers – KARL LAGERFELD.
For me life is often an exhilarating game of connect the dots. Exciting things happen to me and I chalk the experience up as a part of life’s good fortunes that I store away in a little treasure chest of memories in my mind, but then later on, weeks, months, years, another experience links itself to the preceding ones, creating an even richer stories – life.
I don’t think that I’ve ever told the story of the time I met Karl Lagerfeld in St. Tropez here on ATPB. I mentioned it in a review that I wrote on Grazia.it in July 2011. I was visiting the chic town in the south of France for my friend Laura’s wedding. PJ and I took a quick trip into town to pick up an extra pair of swim trunks at a boutique that carries MC2 suits. As I paid for PJ’s trunks, I noticed a familiar silver hair gentleman dressed in black jeans, a vest, white button down, cowboy-inspired boots and driving gloves. He was posing for pictures with a group of adoring women (tourists). I burst out, “OMG, Karl Lagerfeld! Hold on, can I pay for this later? I’ll be right back.” I wanted a picture too. Oddly enough, I would never have had the courage to ask him in a fashion- industry context, but right there on the port in front of a swimsuit store, spurred on by the unabashed enthusiasm of his admirers, I found the courage. When I finally reached the side of the street where he was standing, his assistant was wrapping up the photo and autograph session and declined my barely audible request for a photo. But Karl heard clearly and reached for my I-phone, placed it in his assistant’s hand and instructed him to take the photo. Amazing right? But what was even more enduring was when he turned and looked down at PJ and advised him to not “be moody in the picture.” To which said PJ responded with his best I’m almost four-year-old pose. I will always remember that day.
So when Isa, from Louis Vuitton Italy met with me at the store on Via Monte Napoleone and explained that I would be interpreting Mr. Lagerfeld’s Monogram Boxing Kit, the dots immediately connected for me.
In his letter featured in the “The Icon and The Iconoclasts, Celebrating Monogram” catalog, Mr. Lagerfeld provides the following in regards to his inspiration behind the project: I know more and more women – and men too – who have started to box. I thought that it was something that one should do, if possible in a very expensive way. So I designed the huge piece of luggage with the punching bag in it. I also wanted to make a bag that was inspired by that idea; it comes in different sizes. We made a special carpet, with an application for beginners: where and how to put your feet and how to move. There is also a little bag with boxing gloves, it can be taken to the boxing appointment – I wanted to have a special Monogram for that too. It was really very childish, simple thinking!
Before I read his letter, my mind had already wandered into a lovely daydream starring Mr. Lagerfeld and his boxing bag. The dream starts on the day I met him in St. Tropez and discovered his GRACE, learned that he was GENEROUS with his time and witnessed his charm up close. It then shifts to the uber-luxurious boxing kit that he designed, and then appears the great boxing champion Muhammad Ali who himself starred in campaigns for LV. And I mentally scan the countless images of Ali in the ring, displaying SKILL, POWER and GRACE – owning his famous saying: FLOAT LIKE A BUTTERFLY, STING LIKE A BEE. And for some reason, another cherished moment of mine flashes into view. It’s the image of Roberto Bolle in the finale of Giselle at the Scala during the 2004/2005 season. It is one of the finest performances that I’ve ever seen, one that left me breathless from the display of GRACE, STRENGTH and POWER.
I know you’re thinking, “how are all of these things connected?” Hey, they are my (crazy) dots. But I cant help thinking that they’ve popped into my head because Mr. Lagerfeld is a designer who consistently demonstrates his BEST, who picks up on relevant cultural trends (like the growing popularity of a sport whose greatest stars have displayed the strongest character traits, skills and effortless GRACE, a certain grace that Mr. Lagerfeld, my Iconoclast, has in spades.
Image Credits from the top:
Jean-Philippe Delhomme for LV “The Icon and The Iconoclasts, Celebrating Monogram”
Karl Lagerfeld by Jean-Philippe Delhomme
Karl Lagerfeld’s Boxing Bag photographed by Erwan Frotin
Saskia de Brauw photographed by Steven Meisel
Saskia de Brauw photographed by Colin Dodgson
Muhammad Ali and Erick Friedman
Muhammad Ali delivering a knock out punch
A quiet, thoughtful moment for Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali and Grandson
Roberto Bolle performing in Giselle, La Scala, 2005