Karl Lagerfeld's traveling exhibit, Chanel: The Little Black Jacket, opens to the public in New York this week, from June 8 to 15. Lagerfeld worked with Carine Roitfeld to photograph fashionable notables — including Daphne Guinness , Kirsten Dunst , Alexander Wang , and more — wearing the title garment. A behind-the-scenes look, in the slideshow.
On the first leg of Karl Lagerfeld's traveling "The Little Black Jacket" tour — which features images from the book of the same name that the designer shot with Carine Roitfeld — the designer opened up about where Chanel's classic jacket belongs in fashion history.
"There are different cuts, shapes and proportions, but the basic thing is timeless," Lagerfeld explained. "There are not that many designer items you can say that about. We don't know who did the tank top; we don’t know who did the white shirt, but we know who did the little black jacket."
Lagerfeld says the book, which depicts everyone from Alexander Wang to Daphne Guinness (above) wearing the jacket, features some straightforward imagery and some in which the subjects take on different personas.
"I love the photo of Uma Thurman [resembling Marlene Dietrich], but she is not like this in life," he said. "We made Anja Rubik Japanese. She doesn't look like this either and is playing a part. The idea is the portrait of the personality, or the personality playing a part."
At the moment, one of Lagerfeld's favorite personalities is his oft-tweeted 9-month-old Siamese cat Choupette, who he admitted stealing from his male muse Baptiste Giabiconi.
"Baptiste gave her to me for Christmas to watch for two weeks when he was away but then I refused to give her back. I thought she was too cute," Lagerfeld said. She is like a kept woman. She has a strong personality. She has lunch and dinner with me on the table, with her own food. She doesn’t touch my food. She doesn't want to eat on the floor. She sleeps under a pillow and she even knows how to use an iPad. She has two personal maids, for both night and day. She is beyond spoiled."
But not spoiled enough to get her own little black jacket from Chanel. "I don't like animals in human clothes," Lagerfeld said. "I think that's very circuslike."
Photo: Karl Lagerfeld photographing Daphne Guinness for The Little Black Jacket.