It has been for so long now that we have seen Karl Lagerfeld confidently revolutionising the fashion industry in his uniform black suit and sunglasses, and white shirt and hair that it is hard to imagine otherwise. However, as the book The Beautiful Fall recognises, this was not always the case. In fact, as this footage from a fashion design competition in Paris shows, the 21-year-old Lagerfeld was in fact brown-haired with a slight quiff, anxiously mannered and a nervous speaker.
Although fluently spoken in both French and English nowadays, the leaked archival footage from the International Wool Secretariat shows Lagerfeld nervously licking his lips whilst presenting a daffodil yellow wool coat - of which he won the coat category with - in a competition which also featured an 18-year-old Yves Saint Laurent. As Alicia Drake, author of The Beautiful Fall described: “He talked fast and in French, nervously licking his lips as his words spilled out like marbles. He clasped his hands awkwardly in front of him.” This might have changed, but it seems the designer's signature suit and shirt have not. Now designer for the massively successful Chanel house, as well as Fendi and his own Karl Lagerfeld label, it seems the young Lagerfeld needn't have been so nervous.