by Mary WaireriRodolphe Marconi’s Lagerfeld Confidential is an intimate portrait of one of the most iconic figures of the fashion industry. Born in Hamburg in 1938, Lagerfeld moved to Paris at 14 and by 20 was working for established fashion houses such as Valentino. Since then, Lagerfeld has designed for Chloe and redefined Chanel. He has been so influential in the fashion world that Vogue named him “the unparalleled interpreter of the mood of the moment”. Marconi followed Lagerfeld for two years, enjoying unprecedented access both to Lagerfeld’s public and private life, producing over 200 hours of footage. Luckily, the film is only 87 minutes long, and all the better for it. The result is a dense, skillfully edited documentary that does not waste a single frame. Marconi is adamant that Lagerfeld Confidential should be taken seriously as a film; “it is not another film about fashion or ‘appearances’. Rather, it is a human portrait of an exceptional man.”
It is easy to see why Marconi chose Lagerfeld as his subject; he’s intense, compelling and witty and the film captures Lagerfeld’s many quirks and idiosyncracies perfectly. He is a man who is at once an integral contributor to the fashion industry yet strangely removed from it.
Furthermore, he is fiercely independent, living largely in physical and emotional isolation from others. In fact at one point he claims “I don’t want to be a reality in people’s life, I want to be like an apparition”. This sentiment sums up the impression the viewer is left with by the end of Lagerfeld Confidential. Lagerfeld is an intriguing character but he remains inaccessible to us in many ways. This is partly Marconi’s failing; he displays a laughable level of coyness when questioning Lagerfeld on his sexual relationships and positively skims over more awkward lines of questioning – in particular, the moment when Lagerfeld explains his mother’s hostility towards him when he was sexually abused as a child. Therefore, the most important criticism of Lagerfeld Confidential as a documentaty is that it feels somewhat superficial.
 Many of the insights into Lagerfeld’s personal relatonships and upbringing are interesting but Marconi seems reluctant to probe too deeply, which is difficult to understand considering the rapport he clearly established with his subject in the period of filming.
The fashion world is almost exclusively painted as a hollow and intellectually bankrupt environment so Lagerfeld Confidential is an achievement in showing us the humanity behind the Haute Couture. Lagerfeld Confidential is unexpectedly engaging but ultimately falls short because of its failure to give us a more complete impression of its