Chanel head Karl Lagerfeld not only qualifies as one of the most resonantly successful and influential fashion designers of the late 20th century, but one of the most defiantly elusive. With the documentary portrait Lagerfeld Confidential
, filmmaker Rodolphe Marconi attempts to change this status. For this film, Marconi gained rare and exclusive one-time access to the designer, and posits a series of direct onscreen questions to Lagerfeld about his famously clandestine personal life and his towering career in collaboration with such fashion giants as Pierre Balmain
, Jean Patou, Repetto, Mario Valentino, and many others. Marconi spent two years shooting Lagerfeld (at the mercy of the designer's discretion about what was and wasn't filmed) and edited some 200 hours of Super-8 and HD footage down to feature length. In the finished film, Marconi repeatedly cuts back and forth between candidly shot on-location footage -- of Lagerfeld photographing models and actress Nicole Kidman
, sketching out dress designs, mounting and coordinating catwalks -- and interview footage wherein Lagerfeld reflects at length on his upbringing, his career, his world views, and his proclivities (including atheism and active homosexuality since the age of 13). Deliberately or indeliberately, Marconi avoids extended discussion with Lagerfeld's critics and rivals in the fashion industry.