Standing outside the opening of the Chanel Mobile Art exhibit Tuesday night, we were lamenting the chilly weather that had made us forsake our fingerless gloves, when we saw a figure descend on the red carpet in a hail of noise and flashbulbs, and felt an actual gale so powerful it sent reporters running for cover. Yes, Karl Lagerfeld brings his own wind.
This kind of dizzying experience meeting the Kaiser is not uncommon. We don’t know how Sarah Jessica Parker survived her first encounter with the designer in Paris. She was in town to shoot the last two episodes ever of Sex and the City when she found out she’d been nominated for a Golden Globe. “So we went to meet Mr. Lagerfeld at the house of Chanel, and he designed a dress on me then and there,” she said. SHUT UP. “It was an amazing experience, and I recall it vividly.” What was his process? “He sat and sketched. A lot. Right in front of us,” she said. “He wrapped me. He had lots of thoughts on color and proportion. Various women with amazing skills put pins in me.” She said she later recognized those women when she watched the five-part documentary Signé Chanel about the women who actually build the dresses. “Karl is a mere incidental player. It’s amazing because after that experience when I watch that documentary and many of those women are the women that I stood for for a couple of hours — it was amazing.”
Parker’s felt the force of Hurricane Karl, and soon Vermont will have to brace itself, since he’s purchased a historic six-bedroom mansion on Lake Champlain. Lagerfeld told reporters that he hadn’t even seen the house. “I only saw photos. I bought it blind,” he said. And it remains unclear whether he’s even set foot in Vermont. “It’s very much of the North, like where I’m from in Europe, and I have all kind of furniture perfect for that age and that kind of house. [It’s from 1840.] I want to make a move with all the furniture collection I have from my childhood.” He’ll shoot Chanel ad campaigns there, and he says he’s met many Vermonters over the years and finds them very pleasant. “Of course, or I would not buy a house there.” The move doesn’t mean Lagerfeld feels totally at home in this country; though he previously told us he wasn’t such a fan of Hilary Clinton’s pantsuits, he declined to comment on the competing styles of Barack Obama and John McCain. “I don’t make political statements,” he said. “I am not American. It is in very bad taste. One is cute and handsome and the other is a little older, so they don’t compare.” We suspect, though, that he’ll eventually find his footing. He’s planning on touring small towns and going to Burlington from time to time. Will he visit the Ben & Jerry’s factory in his travels? “What is that?” The famous ice-cream factory, we explained. “Oh no,” he laughed (and, we might add, grabbed our hand). “I don’t eat ice cream. I have no sugar in my diet.”