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Becoming Karl Lagerfeld Review | A Sexy, Scrumptious & Stylish TV Series


Becoming Karl Lagerfeld Review | A Sexy, Scrumptious & Stylish TV Series


Summary

  • Daniel Brühl embodies fashion icon Karl Lagerfeld’s calculating persona with captivating precision.
  • The Hulu series
    Becoming Karl Lagerfeld
    offers a visually stunning portrayal of Lagerfeld’s rise in the fashion world throughout gorgeous European locales.
  • Despite lacking depth in character development and the psychological basis of Lagerfeld’s fashion obsession, the drama is still a very captivating journey through Lagerfeld’s love life, ambition, and artistry.



Hulu’s Becoming Karl Lagerfeld may hold more dazzle than depth, but it’s hard to escape the overall allure. The fashion-focused series is delicious eye candy, the love scenes sizzle, and the dysfunctional relationship at the core of the story becomes more heart-wrenching as time goes on. That’s enough drama to keep us interested across six episodes that track the rise of Lagerfeld, the famed pony-tailed, ready-to-wear German designer who took on Parisian haute couture and friend/rival Yves Saint Laurent in the 1970s to become a formidable figure in fashion.

But if deeper character development is your thing, this series really doesn’t go there. Maybe it doesn’t need to. The New Look, Apple TV+’s fashion escapade, required that depth. This series, not so much, although it would have been welcome. Becoming Karl Lagerfeld might not reveal enough about the inner workings of Lagerfeld and what truly drove his fashion inclinations, yet it still does a fine job of whisking audiences along an engaging ride. Best of all, we have Daniel Brühl (The King’s Man), commanding the screen as Lagerfeld, and Théodore Pellerin as his devoted yet tormented “kept man,” Jacques de Bascher. Both actors may garner award nominations when all is said and done. In the meantime, relish the slick and sassy execution from creators Raphaëlle Bacqué, Jennifer Have, and Isaure Pisani-Ferry, adapted from the bestselling biography Kaiser Karl.



It’s Also About Becoming Jacques de Bascher

Becoming Karl Lagerfeld (2024)

4/5

Becoming Karl Lagerfeld is a captivating biographical drama series that delves into the life of the legendary fashion designer, Karl Lagerfeld. The series traces Lagerfeld’s ascent from his early days in the fashion world to his reign as the creative genius behind iconic fashion houses like Chanel and Fendi. Each episode explores his revolutionary designs, fierce rivalries, and the personal struggles that shaped his enigmatic persona. With an intimate look at his artistic process and the relationships that influenced his career, the show provides a comprehensive portrait of Lagerfeld’s impact on the fashion industry and his enduring legacy as a cultural icon.

Release Date
June 7, 2024

Cast
Daniel Brühl , Agnès Jaoui , Théodore Pellerin , Alex Lutz , Julia Faure , Jeanne Damas , Arnaud Valois , Théodora Breux

Seasons
1

Streaming Service(s)
Hulu

Pros

  • Daniel Brühl is excellent despite being limited to a largely surface-level performance.
  • The cinematography, score, production design, and direction results in an immensely stylish and cool aesthetic.
  • The complicated queer relationships of the characters to each other and to fashion itself is well explored.
Cons

  • The main character of Karl Lagerfeld remains impenetrable, and we get no good internal view of the icon.

Becoming Karl Lagerfeld, in French and German with English subtitles, slips us into 1972 Paris, where fashion is at the forefront of nearly everything. Lagerfeld was 38 at the time and his ready-to-wear styles were not yet fully embraced by the public. Fueled by his previous business partnership with the much more accepted Yves Saint Laurent (Arnaud Valois in a standout performance), Lagerfeld maintains a razor-like focus.


Then Jacques de Bascher enters the picture. Cocksure and determined of himself, Jacques sets out to win over Lagerfeld and claim him as a lover. That he does, though it becomes a rather unconventional relationship for the forward-thinking and very randy Jacques. You see, Lagerfeld’s intimacy issues stem from shaky self-esteem and a bevy of mommy issues. Living with his mother, in fact, may not help at all, as the woman’s ongoing pressure for her son to puncture Paris fashion is always an issue. Jacques goes along for the ride, happy to cavort — and exaggerate his family status — with the Paris elite as Lagerford decides to take on Yves Saint Laurent, whose success is backed by his controlling businessman/lover Pierre Bergé (Alex Lutz).

Related: Shows to Watch if You Love Fashion

The fashion series does a fine job at establishing how different these two designers are. Lagerfeld, hitting middle-age, frets about not having his own label or house — he’d eventually be hired by Chloé and become its creative director before heading to Chanel. Meanwhile, Saint Laurent is idealistic as he continues to surf the wave of success he’s been riding from an early age. Jacques’ encouragement fuels Karl’s business acumen, but the two are unable to connect intimately, despite Jacques professing his deep affection and love.


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A Toxic Romance and a Main Character Without Definition

To offset the inner torment, Jacques sleeps around, at one point embarking on a love affair with Laurent. In today’s world, it would be called an open relationship. But Lagerfeld was maddened by the idea that his “partner” was having a ball, as it were, even if Lagerfeld wasn’t about to go there with Jacques. A total stalemate. To that end, their relationship becomes toxic, and the series leans into the curious evolution (or devolution) of Jacques, which, at times, becomes the more interesting story.


Karl Lagerfeld was revered up until his death in 2019, and he left behind a remarkable legacy. This series intends to show us how Lagerfeld embarked on that path and how much he would sacrifice to stay on it. What it doesn’t always show with clarity is the inner motivation of what drove Lagerfeld toward fashion, how he “viewed” the world through a fashion designer’s eyes, or enough of that creative inner spark that kept him going. What compelled the man to create? Perhaps that remains a mystery, like Lagerfeld himself. Jacques, on the other hand, is featured as a feisty dandy, full of joi de vivre.

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Daniel Brühl Captures Karl Beautifully in a Luminous Series

Brühl takes the title literally, slipping away into the role and fully embodying Lagerfeld’s impenetrable emotional wall and calculating manipulations. It’s a stunning performance that keeps you mesmerized from beginning to end. Pellerin and Valois are also marvelous as Jacques and Yves, respectively, two men perhaps better suited for each other to some degree. However, any long-term commitment there would have found these fellas imploding on each other. There’s something fascinating about Pellerin as an actor, too, which cannot be overlooked. He certainly has a rare on-screen presence — check out his roles in Franklin, Beau Is Afraid, and Solo. Sometime, this fine actor will be giving a major acceptance speech.


Watch Our Interview with Daniel Brühl and Théodore Pellerin Below:

Other standouts here are Sunnyi Melles as the great Marlene Dietrich. A true scene stealer, Melles is divine as Dietrich and, at one point, confronts Lagerfeld about a dress he’s been commissioned to design for her. Brilliant all around. Dietrich, too, would make for a good series during this time period.

Meanwhile, cinematographers Mahdi Lepar and Mélodie Preel give us lovely splashes of Paris, Monaco, Rome, and other locales that are feasts for the eyes. The art direction by Stephanie Laurent Delarue, Anna Prat, and Marco Bagnoli is exceptional, and directors Audrey Estrougo and Jérôme Salle keep the episodes moving along at a refreshingly breezy pace with a fun, pulse-pounding Paris pop/pre-disco soundtrack accompanying the story. Brisk, sexy, and captivating, Becoming Karl Lagerfeld slips on just fine, and manages to rise beyond some of its limitations.


Becoming Karl Lagerfeld is streaming on Hulu. Watch it through the link below:

Watch on Hulu

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