The driving force behind quintessential French fashion house Chanel (Paris), Karl Lagerfeld was one of the most recognizable figures in fashion until his recent passing. While he was known for Chanel’s feminine, romantic women’s wear, including its iconic tweed suits created by legendary founder Coco Chanel, Lagerfeld’s namesake label subscribes to an edgier aesthetic – one he described as “intellectual sexiness” when he launched the brand in 1984. It embodies an effortlessly chic, cool vibe – a reflection of the man himself, who was rarely (if ever) seen without a sharply tailored suit and tie, dark sunglasses and fingerless gloves.
When envisioning the redesign of Karl Lagerfeld’s (Amsterdam) flagship in Munich (prior to his death), Berlin-based design firm Plajer & Franz Studio imagined a space as sleek as the designer’s wares, but far more inviting than it was previously. The 1500-square-foot space, formerly outfitted with minimalist fixtures and finishes and a limited contrasting color palette, would be transformed to take on the personality of the man himself.
“Karl’s life becomes visible and tangible for the customer,” says Sophie Gatzke, Project Manager, Plajer & Franz. “The shopping experience is designed to feel like a visit to Karl’s [former] home and studio and give insight into who he was and how he worked.”
To bring shoppers into “Karl’s World,” designers pulled inspiration from Lagerfeld’s eclectic home and studio in Paris, where a multicolored sea of book spines lined the walls, flanked by regal French paneling, and plush yet minimalist furniture and opulent fixtures sparked creativity and relaxation.
Almost identical features were brought into the store as subtle Parisian references, explains Plajer & Franz Senior Designer Maria Welzel, including herringbone parquet flooring, contrasting wall paneling and textured plaster wallcoverings. The literary theme is brought to life, in an abstract, stylized way, through “open book” frames used to merchandise handbags, shoes and accessories. Luxurious marble, brass and black chrome finishes speak to Lagerfeld’s sophisticated-cool fashion sense.
Rather than sticking with the restrained color palette of the previous store, vibrant pops of red are sprinkled throughout in graphic signage, strategically placed red accessory fixtures, and furnishings that matched those in Lagerfeld’s home, including a bespoke tricolor striped rug and a red lounge chair.
“[Lagerfeld] didn’t only lend his name to the stores,” says Gatzke. “He was the most important character behind everything and was the most important character in the conception.”
As such, it simply couldn’t be “Karl’s World” without images of the man himself, featured in an oversized graphic, peering over the store floor with his signature dark glasses. He may have been born in Germany, but Lagerfeld always had France in his heart (even in Munich), signing the wall, “Love from Paris, Karl xx.” Merci, Karl.
Karl Lagerfeld, Amsterdam
Karl Lagerfeld, Amsterdam: Djurdja Milutinovic; Markus Tirmann
Plajer & Franz Studio, Berlin: Sophie Gatzke, Project Manager
Photography: Mike Fuchs/Courtesy of Karl Lagerfeld