Becoming Karl Lagerfeld – Episode 2 Recap & Review

You Have a Style?

Autumn 1973. In the beginning of episode 2 of Becoming Karl Lagerfeld, Karl is invited to visit the famous German actress Marlene Dietrich. Afterwards, he joins the trade convention of the fashion houses. The tussle between ready-to-wear and haute couture manifests in the rivalry between Lagerfeld and Pierre Bergé.

During the afterparty, Lagerfeld bluffs to Francine Crescent that he’s designing an outfit for Dietrich. Crescent proposes that if he convinces Dietrich to make an appearance in Vogue, which she has never agreed to, she will feature a five-page spread of Lagerfeld’s outfit with Vogue’s best photographer.

On his way to meet Dietrich, cracks begin appearing in Jacques and Lagerfeld’s relationship as Lagerfeld doesn’t have time for Jacques and his romantic overtures. To get back at him, Jacques decides to turn to Saint Laurent.

During a tête-à-tête with Dietrich, she asks him if he has a style. Lagerfeld charms her with his personalized designs for each of her appearances in cinema, leading her to believe she’s his muse. He agrees, “You still are, madame.” Although he returns empty-handed, he manages to slip one of his designs for her under the door before leaving.

Meanwhile, while Lagerfeld is busy charming Dietrich, Jacques joins Saint Laurent’s party and charms him instead. They spend the night together before Jacques joins Lagerfeld the next day for his fitting. During this time, Jacques tells him about his nightly rendezvous with Saint Laurent but quickly changes it to a joke after riling Lagerfeld.

After Lagerfeld reaches home, Dietrich calls to let him know that she loved his design but asks for a more modest look for her “aged body.” During his meeting with Crescent, he negotiates the entire Vogue feature for Dietrich. Dietrich and Lagerfeld have a disagreement about her outfit, and she ultimately inquires what Lagerfeld has to gain from her appearance.

Lagerfeld confesses he wants to show “all of them” what he can do, and Dietrich agrees to lend him a helping hand with the condition, “Do not make me look like the old woman that I am. Like someone in Marlene Dietrich disguise.” Lagerfeld confidently assures her that she’ll be out in the world again with her panache and nothing short of that.

Meanwhile, Jacques and Saint Laurent sleep together again, and Laurent tells Jacques that Lagerfeld had never been with anybody who’d reciprocate his feelings. Later, Jacques brings Lagerfeld an early birthday present while he works. He lies to Lagerfeld about his relationship with Laurent while Lagerfeld invites him to dinner later.

At the shoot, Dietrich dislikes the “costume” that Lagerfeld has designed for her and pulls out of the photoshoot. Lagerfeld lies about her not being able to pay for the suit to Crescent and the team.

At dinner, Lagerfeld takes Jacques to the club; however, instead of a personal dinner, it turns out to be a gathering of friends, including Saint Laurent, to celebrate Lagerfeld’s birthday. During the dinner, Lagerfeld denies having a relationship with Jacques or even being capable of love, prompting Pierre to tell Jacques that he is “just a plaything for men who work too hard.”

When Jacques returns to the party, he puts an arm around Laurent to rub it in Lagerfeld’s face. After coming back home, it’s revealed that Lagerfeld celebrated his 40th birthday instead of the 35th that he often tells the world.

The Episode Review

This episode was packed with drama and style as Lagerfeld’s ego interferes with his work and relationships. For instance, not only does he take Jacques for granted, but he also brushes off Dietrich’s concerns about the dress, saying that he’s a designer and doesn’t only work for her.

The episode features some tasteful dialogue with subtle depth. For example, when talking to Dietrich about her concerns with her age, he responds, “I have hidden myself every day, madame. I don’t have this body or stature. I’m not 35 either. It’s just what I show the world because it’s what the world wants of me. Anyone who sees who I really am would pass me by.” These lines convey the pressure that public figures often face.

Another great scene in the episode is the juxtaposition of high and low fashion: ready-to-wear and haute couture, which manifests in the rivalry between Lagerfeld and Pierre.

While Pierre refers to the two as cavalry (haute couture) and infantry (ready-to-wear), Lagerfeld responds that the trade convention is “the alliance of the declining aristocracy and the expanding bourgeoisie.” The revolutionary undertones clearly portray the major conflict that rages during the 1970s between the upstart forms of fashion and the old players.

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