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Karl Lagerfeld and Monaco: a love story

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Karl Lagerfeld, surrounded by Princess Caroline and her children, at the 2018 Rose Ball - © Monte-Carlo SBM

The German fashion designer had very close ties with the Principality, and in particular with Princess Caroline.

On 30 March, the magazine Le Point published an article on “Karl Lagerfeld’s final secrets”, in which they revealed that Princess Caroline was included in the designer’s will. “The will also stipulated that his great friend Caroline of Monaco, Princess of Hanover (…) [could] choose certain items from the designer’s furniture,” the magazine said, adding that the document – drawn up in 2016 – had been unsealed at notary Henry Rey’s office in Monaco.

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This is further proof of Karl Lagerfeld’s special attachment not only to the Principality, but also to the Princely Family, and especially Princess Caroline.

The Princess of Hanover and her daughter, Charlotte Casiraghi, attended the German designer’s funeral on 22 February 2019. Some time before his death, Karl Lagerfeld told Figaro Magazine : “Caroline of Monaco is elegant, her attitude and education mean that she doesn’t have to remind herself of the fact every morning.”

The man of letters Marc Lambron added, also in Le Figaro, that Lagerfeld found Charlotte Casiraghi, the Chanel muse, “brilliant, well above the level of the European elite, he paints the portrait of a nymph with the words of a Thomas Mann-like magician.”

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A prestigious director for the Rose Ball

The strong friendship between Lagerfeld and the Princess of Hanover, which lasted almost forty years, was illustrated in particular by the designer’s active involvement in the prestigious Rose Ball in 2013, when Princess Caroline asked him to stage the event. This was a very special edition, as it was the 150th anniversary of the Monte-Carlo Société des Bains de Mer, and the designer’s theme was “belle & pop”.

The partnership was so successful that the German couturier took charge of all the subsequent editions. Russian Constructivism, Art Deco, Cuban fever, Viennese Romanticism and New York were the themes for the different Balls until 2018. In 2019, SBM decided to pay tribute to Karl Lagerfeld, who had passed away a few weeks earlier. As reported in Vogue magazine, the host Stéphane Bern gave a moving speech in memory of the designer.

Ten years at Villa La Vigie

Described by Le Monde as “a book nut” in a profile published in 2006, Karl Lagerfeld had an impressive collection of books, spread over his different residences, including Monaco. At the end of the 1980s, the couturier lived in a well-known residence in the Principality and on the Riviera: the famous Villa La Vigie.

And the 600 m2 villa owes its renovation to Karl Lagerfeld. Surrounded by fabulous Mediterranean gardens, and consisting of six bedrooms, four bathrooms, two dressing rooms, a billiard room, a library and a 237 m2 terrace, it was described by the stylist as “the safest place in the world.” “It’s impossible to get near it. There are no public roads and you have to get through two gates to enter the property. There isn’t even an address, so no one can write to me,” Lagerfeld told W magazine.

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And although he left at the end of the 1990s, Karl Lagerfeld left his stamp on the property. Coming full circle, Charlotte Casiraghi posed for Chanel at the prestigious Villa, in 2021.

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Charlotte Casiraghi is Chanel’s brand ambassador – © Chanel

A series in store

And while Karl Lagerfeld and Princess Caroline had a very special friendship, the designer also had ties with Prince Albert II and Princess Charlene and was on the guest list for the Princely couple’s wedding in 2011.

A few weeks earlier, Prince Albert II, the future Princess Charlene and Karl Lagerfeld also posed side by side at the amfAR gala in Cannes: an event to benefit the foundation created by Elizabeth Taylor, one of the biggest American and worldwide foundations for funding AIDS prevention and medical research. According to Le Parisien, some seven million euros were collected that year.

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From left to right: confectioner Hermann Bühlbecker, Prince Albert II, Princess Charlene (then Charlene Wittstock) and Karl Lagerfeld, during the amfAR 2011 gala – © Flickr

Four years after his death, the spirit of Karl Lagerfeld lives on in Monaco. Whether through the prestigious auctions recently organised in the Principality, or the future Kaiser Karl series, which is due to start filming in Monaco in May. Starring Alex Lutz and Daniel Brühl, the six-part series, to be broadcast on the Disney+ platform, will recount the designer’s life story.

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