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Kenneth Ize and Karl Lagerfeld launch collection

MPHO RANTAO

KENNETH Ize and Karl Lagerfeld have officially revealed their collaborated collection.

The rising Nigerian designer launched the collection with Maison Karl Lagerfeld (KL), the luxury label founded by the late Chanel designer and Ize’s inspiration, even though Ize and Lagerfeld have never met. 

Ize was shortlisted as a semifinalist for the 2019 LVMH prize – the same year that Lagerfeld died.

Maison Karl Lagerfeld announced in June 2020 that they would be releasing their first collaborated collection with Ize as their first black designer collaboration. 

“It was very important for me to express where I’m from, because it was like introducing myself to [Karl],” says Ize on the capsule collection. “Every single outfit was based on African imagery.”

As said by Ize, the spring/summer 2021 collaboration features design based on African imagery and European styles with bold prints and clean silhouettes. 

The genderless collection includes ready-to-wear grey and black checkerboard patterns on shirts, trousers, and skirts – using ethically sourced fabric from Nigeria. Ize’s traditional aso-oke cloth and KARL LAGERFELD’s black and white colour palette are also featured in the collection.

The KARLxKenneth collection .Picture: Maison Karl Lagerfeld

The Austrian-Nigerian designer, 30, worked very closely with style advisor Carine Roitfeld, who curated the collection, with Maison KL’s head of design Hun Kim designing the collection. 

“When I was designing the collection I was definitely thinking about the man himself (Karl Lagerfeld), because he’s the one in the picture. But I knew that it was very important for me to express where I’m from, because it was like introducing myself to him,” Ize told Vogue

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“And that was really what I tried to do: How can I incorporate my own background and my own story into this collection? Every single outfit was based on African imagery, Malick Sidibé imagery for example.”

Style advisor Roitfeld felt that the collaboration between Ize’s Lagerfeld’s eponymous label would have excited the late designer greatly, who despite the generational gap, would have been eager to learn new ways to create couture fashion in new ways. 

Carine Roitfeld and Kenneth Ize at Maison Karl Lagerfeld, Paris.Picture: Instagram/carineroitfeld

“He would be excited to have someone like Kenneth around him, because maybe didn’t know a lot of Kenneths. He has a new sense of colors, a new sense of seeing things. Karl loved to learn and I think he would be very excited about the origin of these prints,” Roitfeld said.

Inspired by Lagerfeld’s work since he was 17, Ize felt that working with Maison Karl Lagerfeld was a dream made true. 

“The first time I actually stumbled upon the name Karl Lagerfeld was when I was maybe 17, and working in a retail store. My boss at that time happened to be a huge fan of Karl’s and he would always talk about how he was such a genius and how he does so many things. 

“I started paying attention to his work and watching Chanel shows, and I thought there wasn’t any other show that could ever top them: the energy on those shows was just, like, beyond, and I got the feeling that I would like to do something like that one day. 

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“He was such a hard-working person, and he took his job really seriously, and that’s what I’ve taken from him. You could tell that he was someone who really just loved his job,” Ize added.

Ize hit the spotlight in 2017 after his successful runway debut at Nigeria’s Lagos Fashion Week in 2017. The designer has frequently collaborated with supermodel Naomi Campbell, who is one of Ize’s biggest fans. 

The collection is available on Brownsfashion.com, Karl.com, Farfetch.com, and in the Paris Saint Germain and London Regent Street Karl Lagerfeld flagship stores.

By The African Mirror

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