Translated by
Barbara Santamaria
May 13, 2019
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‘Karl Lagerfeld – Karlikaturen’: the couturier’s political side

Translated by
Barbara Santamaria
May 13, 2019

Karl Lagerfeld was best known as a gifted and dedicated fashion designer, who created collections fo Chanel, Fendi and his eponymous brand until his death in February. He was also a talented photographer, and his photographic career spanning 1987 to 2019 will be presented in Kunstmuseum Moritzburg Halle in Halle, Germany next year.

But the late designer also enjoyed sketching, and his fashion illustrations became highly popular. A selection of 120 original sketches which had been privately owned since the 1960s were auctioned last month by Palm Beach Modern Auctions for up to $3,000 each.

“My sketches look like the final thing, I am not draping and listening to Verdi,” the German couturier once told Le Figaro.

"Donald Trump: My proposal for a modernised Statue of Liberty inspired by my beautiful wife Melania and of course gilded ....." - Karl Lagerfeld/Steidl Verlag

And his creativity was not limited to the fashion world. A newly published book, Karl Lagerfeld – Karlikaturen highlights another one of his talents: he was a brilliant caricaturist. Lagerfeld wanted to be a caricaturist when he was young, and his inclination for this art became apparent later in life when he adopted a uniform - essentially becoming a caricature himself. Between 2012 and 2019 he drew a total of 75 “Karlikatures” for German daily Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and its supplement FAZ Magazine. These political sketches are the subjects of the new book, which features commentary by FAZ Magazine Editor-in-Chief Alfons Kaiser and Lagerfeld’s humorous perspective on world events.

"Angela Merkel: Here I am wearing the trousers!" - Karl Lagerfeld/Steidl Verlag

From the conflict in the Ukraine through the financial crisis in Greece to presidential elections, Brexit, the Catholic Church and the refugee crisis in Europe, he addressed many of the world’s most pressing affairs through his drawings for more than six years. Although he lived in Paris for many decades, he continued to be interested in German politics and by heads of state and government leaders, Germany’s Angela Merkel was his favourite subject. Dressed as Little Red Riding Hood, Santa Claus, or simply wearing a black suit and a red tie whilst posing in front of Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate, Merkel was often portrayed alongside François Hollande in a running commentary of Franco-German relations.

"Mayday Will she crash...?" - Karl Lagerfeld/Steidl Verlag

The last of such caricatures was published in January 2019, just weeks before Lagerfeld passed away on 19 February. Interestingly, the drawing references Angela Merkel and her CDU successor Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, but does so through their jackets rather than their faces.

"The CDU has lost weight..." - Karl Lagerfeld/Steidl Verlag

The book offers fans the opportunity to get to know a different side of the celebrated late designer and his often acidic humour away from the glamorous catwalks and fashionable collections.

Karl Lagerfeld – Karlikaturen, published by Steidl Verlag and the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung is now available for 34 euros online.

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