When an invitation arrives requesting your presence at a dinner in the honour of Karl Lagerfeld, food is the last thing that comes to mind. These spectacular dinners are a bit like eating in a zoo. Everyone anxiously waits for the prized catch to come and then watches him and his glossy posse eat while nibbling on their own dinners.
The night before the anticipated Chanel collection at the Hôtel du Cap-Eden-Roc in Antibes, 250 guests head to the old city to a tiny locally renowned restaurant called Le Michelangelo Chez Mamo on 2, rue des Cordiers. A parade of jet black Mercedes and Audi sedans drop off international editors (various editions of Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire and me from FLARE) in a tiny alleyway. Karl’s friends begin to arrive – French actresses Vanessa Paradis (sadly sans Johnny Depp), Anna Mouglalis, Clemence Poesy, Rachel Bilson, Alexa Chung – the cool girls of fashion. Supermodel Kristen McMenamy steals the show with her waist-length silver grey locks. Dressed all in black, including lacy tights and a silver nose ring, she can give any of today’s top models a run for the money. Karl’s boys are all there too – Brad, Jake, Sebastian and Baptiste. We mill about for an hour sipping champagne and truffle pizza when Karl finally arrives as only he can – in a grey Rolls Royce convertible. He always looks the same – white powdered ponytail, starched collar shirt, black suit with skinny jeans and his ever-present sunglasses and gloves. Neither of the latter is removed throughout the night.
We’re seated under a twinkling fairy light tent at long picnic tables. The Canadian group is tucked between a group of Russian and British editors. Dinner is Provencal French – trays of prosciutto and melon, grilled veggies, tomatoes and mozzarella, followed by fish and then platters of tiramisu and fruit.
I expect Karl to be long gone before the rest of us but, when we leave, he’s deep in conversation with Blake Lively who’s dressed in a short minty Chanel confection with puffed sleeves and skirts. She’s Chanel’s newest A-list brand ambassador and looks amazing. His guests may be seriously jet-lagged but Karl is full of life. I imagine that there has to be a whole team of Karls back at the Hotel du Cap to help him prepare for the big show – suits, wigs and gloves all in a row ready to go.
Preview Karl Lagerfeld’s new fashion film Tale of a Fairy and see the story unfold at 4:00pm EST on chanel.com.