Karl Lagerfeld not only took over seminal fashion house, Chanel, but grew his eponymous label to classic status, all the while maintaining his quintessential personal style. To be truly iconic, one’s look needs to be definable in a handful of words and this also made Lagerfeld ripe for caricature. I’d like to proffer sincere thanks to Weef for allowing me to use his work as illustration for this piece – in fact, seeing it on social media inspired me to channel Lagerfeld this month. In an email to my OX ‘handler’ I summed it up as ‘white shirt, sunglasses, fake tan – job done’. Of course, it should go without saying that there are nuances and I will be embellishing on the above with my own flights of fancy and fantasy, as ever.
Karl Lagerfeld’s strong features gradually disappeared behind his infamous monochrome costume. Nonetheless, his perma-tan was notable and is easily emulated. Advances in technology have moved sunless tanning a million miles from the biscuit-fragranced tango-a-thon which once it was and is now able deliver what a week in Cyprus in April cannot – a reliable tan. Nail-colour impresario Leighton Denny’s new range offers a comprehensive range of options, available in Medium or Dark. I was frankly terrified to receive the darker option for testing but I am not the lucky recipient of PR parcels for my own benefit, dear reader. I duly stripped off and set too, using the application mitt to dollop globs of cocoa-coloured foam down my legs (going lightly over dry bits – knees, ankles, heels) and making sure to use circular, blending movements. The mousse is coloured, so you can check for coverage and any erroneous paler patches are soon discovered. And then I… well, then I did nothing, because that was it. It seemed to dry in under a minute (but don’t quote me) and I legit look as if my legs have been sunning themselves somewhere glorious without the rest of me. Although, in fact, if my legs had been sunning themselves they’d be patchy, red and probably still more milk than latte. ‘Sunbelievable’ as it feels to me, I have found a new summer BFF (from £10 ldboutique.com).
Chanel is famous not simply for fashion but also fragrance and it is perfectly arguable that I should feature one of their scents here – in fact, I’ll probably switch sides and argue for you if you really push me. But, I’m channelling something of a maverick, a man who had an extremely clear idea of what the rule book demanded when he took Chanel from Coco to Karl, yet went with his instincts and had faith in himself. That’s a rather grandiose way of saying I wanted to include the frankly divine innovative classic, Mure Et Musc by L’Artisan Parfumeur here, and so I am. Long before Jo Malone thought to pair blackberry with bay, Jean Laporte coupled it with citrussy musk resulting in a fragrance which has endured for over 40 years. Describing this as a Floral Fruity is a little misleading because both evoke a girlish, sweet lightness of touch and this is deep and redolent with genderless musk which knocks back the homeliness of blackberry and its associations with crumbles and jams. Instead it is turned into the dusk of a sultry summer’s evening at precisely (bramble) gin o’clock. From £78 at Harrods or online, lartisanparfumeur.com.
I love Oxford’s Little Clarendon Street. It exudes a holiday vibe, whether visiting its notable cocktail bars for a summery caipirinha or getting festive warm-and-fuzzies from its perma-fairy lit ambience. It is also home to stylish bespoke tailors, Clements & Church. The perfect white shirt is fashion holy grail, and here your chances of striking gold are improved as each garment is custom-made. I’ve chosen to feature this one from the Classic Collection (from £150, visit the shop or go online at clementsandchurch.co.uk to make an appointment). You will be spoiled for choice with up to 12 collar styles to choose from (I’m reliably informed that Lagerfeld would have plumped for High Collar) but please allow me to offer a cautionary caveat; one wants one’s collar to make a statement but the avoidance of Harry Hill territory is advisable if one is trying to maintain a position of style rather than lols.
Black Eyewear is the brainchild of optician Robert Roope, who was inspired by his love of jazz and all things vintage to create a collection of iconic frames – originally in black but as the range has expanded so has the choice of colours to suit. However, I think the Pharoah (from £187, blackeyewear.com) is a perfect example and an extremely apposite choice for Lagerfeld, king of all he surveyed. Lagerfeld is quoted as having said, “I'm a little short-sighted, and people, when they're short-sighted, they remove their glasses and then they look like cute little dogs who want to be adopted.” I’m therefore delighted to report that these can be made up for any prescription, including varifocals (how fashion!) either with or without lens tint.
In common with Lagerfeld – whose beloved feline, Choupette, sports c300k followers on Instagram, and was muse and heir to his fortune – I am fully subscribed to Team Cat and adore all things moggy: my daughter was festooned in Hello Kitty long after her natural inclinations were sated. I actually adore most of this range, featuring as it does the sort of motifs I personally love – cats, hearts, stars, lightning bolts and arrows all in a choice of metal finishes (rose, gold or rhodium plated, keeping prices treaty but manageable should a habit form). These earrings (£55, ernestjones.co.uk) feature Swarovski-studded Choupette and why not? I think they are bursting with charm, wearability and wit. If you disagree I’d still recommend you visit (there’s a branch of Ernest Jones in the Westgate) and I’m fairly confident you’ll find some little piece of Lagerfeld’s legacy to add to your collection.