Still at the glittering helm of Chanel, Fendi and his own eponymous line, Karl Lagerfeld continues to be the almighty king of contemporary fashion, but it’s his vintage jewellery made decades past that has our must-have radar pinging off the charts. Since the 1980s, Lagerfeld has been pumping out cult-status costume jewellery with looks that run the gamut from punk-rock to Parisian aristocrat. Think Bladerunner-style industrial rocks, hip-hop inspired thick gold chains or delicate figurines dancing across lapels — he’s done it all.
Not only did the German fashion tour-de-force design cheekily irreverent pieces for his own line (who else can get away with a larger-than-life chain shouting ‘KARL 4EVER’?), but he also teamed up with some of the brightest lights in the accessories world during the last 50 years of his brilliant career. In 1983, Ugo Correani — the Milan-based, eighties- era master of all things ornamental — collaborated with Karl on the jewellery for his first haute couture collection with Chanel. Together, Correani and Lagerfeld’s designs were otherworldly: industrial pendants fashioned out of aluminium piping and safety lights that will — quite literally — stop traffic; or, articulated chokers in silver and plexiglass that are more Fifth Element than Fifth Avenue.
If you take a wander through the storied collections of fashion’s most flamboyant collectors, you’ll find Karl’s pieces front and centre. The archive of Anna Piaggi, the multi-coloured Italian fashion maven, for example, was stocked full of Lagerfelds creations, many of them gifts from Kaiser Karl himself (that incredible archive is shoppable as well). From a pair of gun-metal earrings in the shape of slick bullets to a primly configured set of gold and pearl studs, her trove of treasures show the fascinatingly broad range of his design arsenal. Which is why we’ve continued collecting Karl’s hard-to-come-by vintage designs. And now, for our lucky La DoubleJ devotees, you can take home a little piece of the Lagerfeld’s long and illustrious career. Shop it now, BABEs!
– Laura Todd