I have an incredible fascination with Karl Lagerfeld. Not just because of his legendary position with Chanel, and the almost inconceivable way he also fits in designing his eponymous clothing and accessories line as well as a hotel, myriad collaborations as diverse as designing VIP helicopters for Agusta and jelly shoes for Melissa, and even releasing a diet book - the 80 year old visionary powers through more work in a year than I probably will in a lifetime, seemingly fuelled entirely by passion, creativity and 10 cans of Diet Coke a day - but because he's such a wonderful character.
I adore the way he uses Shu Uemura eyeshadow to colour his divine fashion sketches which fly from his hand with an execution so blink-and-you-miss-it quick as to border on slight of hand, and how he has flight cases for his selection of iPods, and colours his grey hair white using dry shampoo every day. I'm less taken with some of his awful, old school attitudes, taking particular offence at his comment about how wearing sweatpants means you have 'given up', although I notice he's still happy to make a buck by selling them...
Regardless, what I treasure in an age of media trained, talent vacuum 'celebrity' clothing lines, is that Lagerfeld is a uniquely gifted character who will always speak his mind, no matter how controversial. I loved his refreshing honesty in the 2012 Loic Prigent documentary, 'Karl Lagerfeld Sketches His Life' (highly, highly recommend - watch the trailer here), where he admitted, almost as an aside, that the thing that has made him the most money was patenting the Fendi logo of two yin and yang 'F's, which he effortlessly created during his time at the house when it was better known as a furrier than a luxury fashion brand. Smart.
So, as you would expect from my fan-girling preamble, I am beyond excited to visit the new Karl Lagerfeld Concept Store, his first in London and the brand's largest store to date, which opens on Regent Street this week. The central London shop promises to bring the 'essence of Karl Lagerfeld' to its customers, as well as the world of Karl Lagerfeld the brand, and will act as the European flagship.
Karl's devotion to technology and his love of apple products is referenced inside the innovative store which also showcases Karl Lagerfeld décor. You can use on-site iPads to send messages directly to M. Lagerfeld (or, if you prefer, Choupette) through the digital guestbook, browse the collection and take photos using iPad minis integrated into the racks, and the fitting rooms will be equipped with special Photobooths that have built-in touchscreens to allow shoppers to photograph their looks, apply various Karl-inspired filters then share their images via Facebook, Twitter and email.
Featuring alongside the mainline Karl Lagerfeld men's line, women's ready-to-wear, accessories and 'objets' is a specific UK Capsule collection. This includes a range of Union Jack-motif pieces like Karl's signature fingerless leather gloves and, my absolute favourites, these amazing stack soled flatworm K/Kreepers (£295), the luxurious and eminently covetable K/Kuilted backpack (£575) and his latest collectible tokidoki figure, 'Mr UK' (£125), pictured above.
The Karl Lagerfeld Concept Store opens at 145-147 Regent Street, London W1B 4JD on 14th March 2014. For more information, see www.Karl.com