Becoming Karl Lagerfeld – Episode 5 Recap & Review

The Wedding of the Century

Spring 1978. Episode 5 of Becoming Karl Lagerfeld explores Karl’s rising popularity and prestige and the troubles brewing in his personal life. While his mother listens to a radio interview featuring Karl, Karl visits Spain, working with the brand Fendi. He also meets Jacques there, who’s on vacation, enjoying the freedom he never had with Karl. Although they are on good terms, Jacques wants to make something of his own rather than relying on Karl for survival.

Now that Karl has surpassed his major obstacles, he has been involved in Paloma Picasso’s wedding, the daughter of Pablo Picasso. The wedding reception is supposed to be a victory party for Karl’s success over everyone else, and he wants Jacques to be there because if Jacques is not there, “then Pierre and Yves have won. And what have I achieved, if I keep nothing around me?” he says. Jacques still turns him down.

Karl finally makes his way to the Fendi office, where they discuss the need for a photographer for a project. This is when he receives the news that his mother had a stroke, and he rushes back to Paris. Luckily, she was found in time and was admitted to the hospital. Even with his mother in such a state, Karl resumes his work for the Picasso wedding, suppressing his emotions.

Meanwhile, Karl recommends Jacques to become the photographer for Fendi’s new project, leading to an awkward situation where Jacques is told that he is being hired because they cannot turn down Karl’s request. Jacques feels humiliated and calls Karl to say he is not a photographer. Karl emphasizes that he should do his best and, after his success, visit the wedding reception. Jacques hangs up.

After a while, Jacques calls Karl to tell him that he would direct and write a film for Fendi and asks him to take the offer or leave it. Karl agrees. Elsewhere, Karl has his mother live outside Paris, and even though he clearly loves her, he cannot separate himself from his work and public image. After a brief talk, he leaves.

Preparing for the wedding reception, Karl and Yves meet and chat, where Yves tells him that Pierre had left him, and Karl informs him about his mother’s deteriorating condition. We find that Yves’s condition has deteriorated as well.

As the guests pour in after a while, Jacques finally makes an appearance and cannot stop talking about his filming project. He actually feels happy doing something on his own and insinuates that he wouldn’t need Karl’s help for long.

The reception is a major success, but watching Jacques mingle with others and talk about his Fendi project, Pierre approaches Karl and comments, “The more you create illusions, the better I see you,” referring to Jacques’s presence. Karl feels more and more lonely.

Later, when everyone leaves, he watches Jacques’s film. The film is great, but soon the shadow of worry about losing Jacques, since he wouldn’t need Karl, seeps in. So, Karl calls Fendi and cancels the film project, even though they loved Jacques’s film. It’s revealed that Karl’s mother died four months later without being able to see her son again.

The Episode Review

This episode largely portrays the intense loneliness Karl feels with his mother’s absence and the toxic love and affection he has for Jacques, which leads to his subsequent anxieties that prompt him to destroy not only Jacques’s career but also his life and person.

It also highlights how Karl is never at peace and his ambitions soar higher than his stature. Amidst these desires, which attract fame, he remains distant from real relationships and friendships.

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