The house of Karl Lagerfeld continues to extend the visionary designer’s legacy and collaborative spirit, this time by debuting a collection with one of his muses, Cara Delevingne. Launched during NYC’s fashion week with a fete high above the city, the Cara Loves Karl collection features items for all genders, ranging from a reversible faux-fur bomber and angular tuxedo gilet to wide-leg pants, dynamic shirts and more. These garments, composed of organic and recycled materials, were co-designed by Delevingne and overseen by the brand’s design director, Hun Kim, who we spoke with during his time in NYC for the launch.
Delevingne and Lagerfeld had a well-documented friendship but has this collaboration been in the works for a while?
In a way the foundation has been laid for many years. Karl was a mentor and friend to Cara. He treated her like family so after Karl’s passing, we felt it would be a wonderful way to celebrate the love they had for each other.
Collaboration is like matchmaking, you need to have chemistry. To get to know each other, we started with an easy and casual conversation talking about how Cara spends days with friends, her experiences, passions, inspirations… Everything, really. At some point she mentioned how she worked with a director friend to have a makeover to dress and look like a man. When she went out for the evening, she noticed people treated her differently somehow.
This story led me to think, “What if we focus on a gender-neutral collection, to allow you to show who you are not by what you wear.” We unintentionally create gender on cloth without even thinking. For example, when you see a skirt immediately [you think] it’s a women’s style but in many cultures men wear skirts, so our conversation started to brew into designing a collection anyone can enjoy.
How did you determine the design direction of the pieces?
We often have little time and not much space, so we felt it was important to create transformable pieces. We created a three-in-one jacket, reversible coat options, jackets and shirts that you can unbutton and pair with each other. We wanted to create something unique and unexpected. On top of everything Cara really cares about sustainability which, as a brand, we take very seriously. So, we spent a lot of time finding the right materials so each piece could be as sustainable as possible.
For our first proto[type] meeting I traveled to beautiful Prague where she was filming. Even though her schedule was so busy she spent the whole day with me and my team and we had so much fun. She shared her opinions, tried everything on, made changes she felt would work well. We respected each other’s opinions and created one strong style after another. At the end I had to send her back to studio—she didn’t want to leave.
What do you hope people will take away from the collection and campaign?
First of all, fun. I could watch the Cara Loves Karl avatar all day. Also, it shows that a great friendship never ends. We really care about people. We call ourselves the Karl family. Whether people had direct or indirect relationships with Karl we still work together and support each other. We want to share Cara and Karl’s friendship with everyone.
Can we expect more from this collaboration—another collection maybe?
Never say never. We will always keep our close relationship and whenever we have great ideas who knows. You will have to wait and see.
Images courtesy of Cara Loves Karl