Friday, July 25, 2008

Paris à la mode

Paris_Lagerfeld-2, originally uploaded by david_stirling.

So I'm riding my bike down a side street, lost, again, when through an old wooden door steps a tall guy, all in white, wearing angel wings. Hallo. This is enough to cause me to stop. Then, following him, appears a female model, tall and skinny as a birch tree, trailed by a small group of handlers and some other folks with photographic equipment. And finally out steps probably the most recognizable man in fashion: Karl Lagerfeld of Chanel. Of course, the reason he is the most recognizable is because he has been wearing basically the same outfit for the last twenty years. (He probably re-accessorizes every few months, but those details are beyond me.)

Now I am casually fishing through my backpack, switching to my long lens, following at a respectful distance. Lagerfeld, angel, birch tree, et al set themselves up by a glass wind shelter for a surprisingly brief photo shoot. I guess they have to shoot fast, because by the time they were done a crowd had started to materialize. The whole business was strikingly drama-free and low profile. They couldn't have shot more than five or six frames before moving along. Lagerfeld would set up the shot, describe to the models what he wanted them to do while the assistant would prepare the camera. Then Lagerfeld received the camera and took the final shots.

After they were done, Lagerfeld took time to pause for some photos and to chat amiably with the group of people that had gathered. He even took out his own camera and fired off a couple photos of the angel holding an egregiously cute baby.

It's funny how when we have a brush with celebrity we're amazing and impressed when the person isn't a raging jerk. Even so, I'll admit he seemed like a charming person--someone I'd enjoy chatting with at a party. And props to anyone who can even frame a photo while wearing glasses that dark.

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