On Karl Lagerfeld, consumption culture and owning influence

Karl lagerfeld by Takashi Murakami

“I find the joy of collecting, the fun of hunting for objects, the exciting thing. But once I [win] it, I lose interest. I don’t want to be a curator living in a museum.”
Karl Lagerfeld

It was fascinating looking through the lots of Karl Lagerfeld’s estate auction a couple of weeks ago. Among them were his 1980s scrapbooks, his Hedi Slimane for Dior Homme jacket, a Shu Uemura makeup box and his own Chanel croc-embossed tote bag (below, which sold for €94,500). “Collectors from the world over, snapping up Karl Lagerfeld’s objects and designs, have consecrated his status as a fashion icon. The ‘Kaiser’ would surely have been moved by this immense public success,” said Pierre Mothes, vice president of Sotheby’s France.

Chanel tote Karl Lagerfeld auction 2021

In the consumer-fuelled influencer age, we’re obesssed with the lives of the rich and fabulous and the possessions they own. There’s a sense that by buying into the same brands and products, we too can access a little bit of their magical star quality. I first experienced this in the 90s reading about supermodels’ beauty must-haves in Allure. Could a Chanel Rouge Noir nail polish or Maybelline Great Lash mascara give me the appeal of a Christy or a Linda? Worth a try! (On the other end of the scale, Lisa Eldridge buying Audrey Hepburn’s Cartier lipstick holder never gets old.)

These days, we see the theory played out on a mass scale with social media influencers. Whatever they acquire, their followers aspire to own too and in a more accessible version of a Sotheby’s sale, can actually achieve via the instant social supermarket that is Depop. In the future though, as certain influencers get bigger and even more famous, I wonder if their most special acquisitions – the Chanel trinkets and Dior Nikes – will get the Karl auction treatment. Would an influencer’s possessions garner the same feverish attention? At this point, nothing would surprise me…

Karl Lagerfeld auction 2021

The third part of Karl Lagerfeld’s estate auction will take place at Sotheby’s in Cologne, Germany, in March 2022.

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl / Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGES: Sotheby’s Karl Lagerfeld auction x 2; Dmitry Kostyukov for New York Times
NOTE: Most images are digitally enhanced. Some posts use affiliate links* and PR samples. Please read my privacy and cookies policy here

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