I am a big admirer of Karl Lagerfeld, from his work for Chanel to his dry sens of humor, so I was very excited to see his exhibition Work in Progress at the Daelim Museum in Seoul.
No, I’m not a French designer either. I’m from nowhere. I’m a European, old European is all I am.
Famous as the designer of Chanel since 1983, Karl Lagerfeld also forays into publication, film-making, architecture and photography. There is a huge cult behind the persona he has crafted for himself since the 80′s. The white hair, black frames and skinny tie are instantly recognizable. His silhouette itself has become a trademark, selling bags and t-shirts all over the world. He is incredibly knowledgeable and very opinionated about art and culture, but sounds like an alien most of the time. I love his sarcasm and how out-worldly he always is, with fashionistas around the world eating-up his quotes for breakfast.
However a lot of people are unfamiliar with his photography and the Daelim exposition was great to get into this perfectionist’s work. Of course he does a lot of fashion shots, for magazines and all the Chanel campaigns, but also shoots portraits, landscapes and abstract compositions. His pictures are both precise and dreamy integrating art and design in his work.
Some of the pictures I liked the most were the male nudes of Baptiste Giabiconi. It is rare to see male nudes shot with so much sensuality and beauty, reminding me of the Ancient Greek ideals of athletes and perfect bodies. In other series I loved how he created ethereal atmospheres, as in inhabited by mysterious beauties of the past with a 1920′s vibe of flapping dresses and Charleston.
He has a special instinct for creating an atmosphere, from the clothes to the expression of his models, which I particularly enjoyed in his retro-futuristic compositions and Roy Lichtenstein style portraits of Ziyi Zhang.
The Daelim exhibition also has a fun little Chanel photo-booth, the “Cocomaton”. For 5,000 won visitors can take their own souvenir shots just like in the Chanel ads. Films and clips of Karl Lagerfeld are also being projected. The museum is located close to Insadong, perfect for a cultural afternoon followed by a nice cup of tea or makkoli…
At the Daelim Museum
Karl Lagerfeld – Work in Progress
Until March 18th, 2012