Karl Lagerfeld, the legendary designer at the helm of Chanel, is almost as renowned for his musical tastes as for his fashion nous. He has already released an album of his favourite electronica and dance tunes, and now he is poised to pop up in the latest version of the global gaming hit Grand Theft Auto as a virtual DJ.
It is the latest move in a career that has seen the designer repeatedly break out of the traditional world of fashion and create waves off the catwalk. And it again shows that, despite being a veteran of the style scene, he is at the cusp of new technology and trends.
Herr Lagerfeld, or Kaiser Karl to use his nickname, will become "DJ Karl" on the game's K109 The Studio station, which gamers can tune in to while wreaking havoc on the fantasy streets of Liberty City. DJ Karl promises to keep the "buzz of electronic music alive" and ensure "disco never dies", spinning tunes influenced by the famous sound stylist Michel Gaubert.
Lagerfeld has peppered his selection with his infamous rapid-fire commentary, telling gamers he is "keeping things moving with the music that liberated all of us, taught us we were all the same, showed us that computers were our friends".
A shock move from the man who keeps the ladies who lunch in chic suits, genteel pumps and quilted handbags? Or merely the latest volley from someone who hungers for novelty the way mere mortals might hunger for their supper?
This year Lagerfeld has been remodelled in lead as a 10cm Pixi figurine and is being sewn into a Steiff teddy bear, complete with his trademark dark glasses. Then there is his foray into the world of contemporary art and design with the Chanel Mobile Art Pavilion, a pop-up art gallery roaming the world that he devised with the renowned architect Zaha Hadid.
"It seems like a contradiction to see someone as old as Lagerfeld [who is in his late 60s or early 70s depending on who you believe] in a computer game, but it isn't because he has that sense of innovation and need for a new outlet," said Tim Jackson, principal lecturer at the London College of Fashion. "Plus he seems young because of his personality."
As Lagerfeld himself recently said: "I may be mature, but I'm also childish." He also likes to see himself as allied more with the younger generation than with his contemporaries. "People of my generation, I don't have the best relationship with," he said in a recent interview.
Sarah Harris, a feature writer at Vogue, said: "In marketing terms, it's a great way to introduce him to a much younger generation of Chanel shoppers. I can see why something like this would appeal to someone like him; he is a visionary. Plus, from a video-gaming and illustration point of view, there is no better fashion designer to depict. With his steely hair, stiff collars, suits and Chrome Hearts rings, he is immediately recognisable and would translate beautifully in animation."
Lagerfeld has his friend Daphne Guinness to thank for his stint on Liberty City's airwaves; the fashion stylist and brewing heiress introduced the designer to Grand Theft Auto's makers.Reuse content