Karl Lagerfeld‘s fascination with black and white photography started in the ‘80s when his friend Eric Pfrunder from Chanel in Paris needed a photograph for a press kit. Discovering that he had real talent as a photographer opened up a whole new level of creativity and of interpreting fashion through the lens of his camera. “Black and white has become emblematic of my style; it expresses my vision of modernity. In fashion as in photography, only perfection will do. Working in black and white is a demanding but fascinating choice,” he said in an interview for Chanel.
Always creating, Lagerfeld had the idea of reinventing the iconic little black jacket that Coco Chanel first presented in 1916 to liberate women from the restricting fashion of the time. “In order to be irreplaceable, one must always be different,” said Coco Chanel, and that is exactly what the current designer of the fashion house set out to do with a book and a traveling photography exhibition on the little black jacket.
Lagerfeld and former Vogue Paris Editor Carine Roitfeld’s book The Little Black Jacket: Chanel’s Classic Revisited, to be released in the fall, features black and white photographs of over 100 celebrities wearing the Chanel little black jacket in various ways. The photographs taken in New York, Paris and the south of France by Lagerfeld during the course of a year, and styled by Roitfeld, present the jacket in classic and sometimes irreverent ways on pop stars, actresses, models, directors, musicians and even royalty. Some of the celebrities that posed for the project include Sarah Jessica Parker, Kanye West, Tilda Swinton, Yoko Ono, Daphne Guinness, Lady Gaga and Monaco’s Charlotte Casiraghi. An exhibition of these photographs is currently touring in various major cities around the world. ■