More years ago than I care to admit, I was leaving the CFDA’s American Fashion Awards, when they were held at the Celeste Bartos Forum in the NY Public Library. As I was exiting the 42nd Street side of the building, I looked up just before the door to the outside & there along the right stood a vignette of legendary proportions: Ralph & Ricky Lauren, Penelope Cruz, Hedi Slimane & Karl Lagerfeld. Just having a casual chat. Images of this sort don’t easy un-etch themselves from one’s psyche. Each of these spotting would generate a text to several friends for certain, however, the fact that Karl Lagerfeld was part of the tableau, made it exponentially more electric than had he not been part of it.
Fast forward 60 seconds later & I was making my way down the step from the Library to 42nd Street, on the arm of a personal hero of mine, Fern Mallis, & suddenly we were awash in a glow of flashes, shrieks from the onlookers & traffic on 42nd Street some 4 lanes deep literally stopping on a dime. As we turned to look behind us, we were being followed out by none other than Mr. Lagerfeld himself. For a split second, I shared a millionth of a percent of his glow of genius & it was, all at once, exhilarating, blinding, inspirational & frightening. Genius of his level is all of these descriptives & more. As a lifelong student, observer, follower & practitioner of this experience we all call “fashion”, Karl Lagerfeld existed in a plane above it all. A level that I hoped to some day observe, if even from afar. On that fateful day in June, at the New York Public Library, I got my 90 second chance to do just that.
If fashion were a world, Karl Lagerfeld was the galaxy. Our world is a far less creative place today that it was yesterday.
Humbly & with a heavy heart-
R. Scott French