Cara Delevingne first met Karl Lagerfeld when she was 20 years old at her very first Chanel show. “The first time I met him, I was immediately blown away by his kindness and generosity,” the model tells GRAZIA USA. Throughout their enduring friendship, the late designer had many influences on Delevingne’s life. “Karl really taught me the importance of embracing your weirdness. He was uniquely himself and didn’t care what anyone else thought. I try to live with that attitude every day.”
Now, the British model is memorializing their shared passions and values in a capsule collection with Karl’s eponymous brand, now led by design director Hun Kim. Featuring a range of ready-to-wear and accessories, the Cara Loves Karl collection, which launched globally on September 8, taps into Delevingne’s personal style. “I personally dress in a way that allows me to play with gender. So when I was thinking about a collection I wanted to exist but also to be true to my personal style, I knew it needed to be genderless,” she says.
From shirts with a removable collar and another with buttons at the waistline that allows them to transform into a cropped shirt to a black nylon loose-fitting jacket that reverses to a silky faux fur, the genderless, size-inclusive garments are made to be versatile for multiple occasions. “The message is about inclusivity.” says Delevingne. “It doesn’t matter how you identify. There are pieces in this collection for everyone. It’s made for everyone.”
Below, Delevingne explains how she’s incorporating Karl Lagerfeld’s spirit in the collection, her funniest memory with Lagerfeld, and her most surprising part of the creative process.
GRAZIA: How did the collaboration with KARL LAGERFELD come about?
Cara Delevingne: When Karl Passed away, KARL LAGERFELD asked me to help design a tribute limited-edition shirt. This was two years ago, and all proceeds went to “Saucer la \/ie,” a charity that funds medical research at the Paris Descartes University, which Karl supported for many years. After that, we wanted to find another way to work together so this collaboration came about naturally.
G: What have you learned from working with Hun Kim and the KARL LAGERFELD creative team?
CD: I have learned that no goal is out of reach – to always strive for greatness.
G: What is your favorite piece of the collection and why?
CD: I love the reversible bomber jacket. The blue faux fur is so cozy it feels like a cloud!
G: Which has been the most memorable moment for you during this collaboration?
CD: Seeing all the clothes for the first time in person was a real pinch me moment.
G: How did you go about keeping the spirit of Karl Lagerfeld in your designs?
CD: For me, Karl’s style is timeless, classic, chic, yet simple, and always has a twist – which is what I kept in mind while making this collection.
G: How much creative input on the collection did you have?
CD: I worked very much in collaboration with the KARL LAGERFELD design team. We went back and forth on designs for months, continually sharing ideas and making adjustments. Hum and the creative team came over to meet me whilst I was filming in Prague so that we could work on the collection, and I spent time in the studio in Amsterdam. I wanted to ensure the collection truly reflected my style.
G: How would you describe the collection to someone who hasn’t seen it?
CD: Stylish, fun, and something for everyone!
G: What has surprised you about the creative process?
CD: The amount of editing involved was totally unexpected. I just had such an abundance of ideas and narrowing them down was really the hardest part. I am fortunate that Hun understood my vision, and was able to guide me through the process of editing the collection.
G: What is your funniest memory with Karl?
CD: Going to dinner with him, picking his brain, and listening to his stories would always leave me with sore cheeks after laughing so hard.
G: What is your favorite memory of Karl Lagerfeld?
CD: One of my favorite things to do with Karl was to sit with him alone and hear stories about his past. His life was so fascinating. Getting to know him was my favorite memory. However, I will always deeply cherish each moment we had together. His personality was infectious, and I was always elated to be in his presence.
G: What three things did you love the most about Karl?
CD: His creativity, his intellect, and his love for the people he cared about.
G: What do you think would be his reaction on the collection?
CD: I know he would love it — that’s the most rewarding part of this experience.
G: In your opinion, what is Karl’s greatest legacy?
CD: Karl is his own greatest legacy. Everything he did will be remembered and seen as an inspiration for future generation.