Lagerfeld, books, bottles and brands

I became interested in Karl Lagerfeld a couple of years ago because of his gargantuan book collection, which in turn led to a fascination with his multiple creative endeavours, constant curiosity and carefully constructed persona.

Lagerfeld keeps breaking through the seams of his main professional identity, with multiple collaborations that are currently overflowing into the world of advertising and driving his personal brand with a pop art purity that would have made Andy Warhol jump up and down on his wig with envy. Take, for example, the trio of short films/long ads he recently shot for Magnum, the ice cream. And the Volkswagen ad he starred in.

Is this just crass commercialism? Or is this a reflection of a pop art that is no longer distinguishable from marketing? From Cambells cans on canvasses to bottles of Diet Coke co-branded by Karl Lagerfeld. I picked up the 3 bottles in Harvey Nichols a few weeks ago. They now sit on one of my bookshelves. Pure advertising abstraction made readymade. Superstar self-referentiality.

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But back to the books. And how they have become very much an extension of Lagerfeld. A key element in his personal brand armoury. The wall of volumes in his Parisian studio like a full sleeve tattoo he cannot help but show off. Take this still from the making of the coke bottles.

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Or this photographic reportage.

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From a brand perspective, what makes this powerful is that it is grounded in a true obsession. Behind the unemotionality of his white powered hair and black sunglasses, the passion for the printed object is palpable.

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(Final image by The Selby)

June 30, 2011 | 11:37 PM