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Karl Lagerfeld’s closest collaborators pay tribute with The White Shirt Project

Seven of Karl Lagerfeld’s closest collaborators and friends have joined forces to pay tribute to the designer's legacy by reinterpreting his most favoured design: the white shirt. ‘For me, the white shirt is the basis of everything,’ the designer once mused. ‘Everything else comes after.’ The seven shirts – by curator Carine Roitfeld, Cara Delevingne, Tommy Hilfiger, Sébastien Jondeau, Diane Kruger, Kate Moss and Takashi Murakami – have just landed and are now available to buy exclusively at Farfetch, with proceeds going to the Sauver La Vie charity initiative for medical research at the Paris Descartes University. Find out more about each shirt and shop each piece below.

Takashi Murakami’s shirt

The Japanese contemporary artist Takashi Murakami shared a mutual admiration with Karl Lagerfeld. Remembering one of his favourite moments with Karl – during a photoshoot in New York with Yoko Ono for Interview magazine – he recalls, ‘Karl kindly shot us for about 15 minutes while continuously calling out "Beautiful! Beautiful!" His concentration was so tremendous that he started to break a sweat. It left a lasting impression on me,’ reflects the artist. ‘The artistic concept of my shirt is that you win if your work continues to be talked about for decades, like Karl’s has. Creating this tribute shirt was a very emotional experience for me.’

Sébastien Jondeau’s shirt

Karl’s personal assistant for over 20 years and one of his true confidants, Sébastien Jondeau met the designer back in the early 1990s and went on to model menswear for his eponymous label in 2005, before becoming an integral part in the design team in 2017. Today he remains an influential member of the MAISON KARL LAGERFELD family. ‘I’m proud to be involved in this tribute, as there are so many great designs by talented people. My shirt was inspired by "Kaptain Karl" – like a boat captain, but not interpreted so literally,’ he explains. ‘The red trims were inspired by the border that Karl always put on his sketches and drawings.’

Carine Roitfeld’s shirt

The curator behind ‘A Tribute to Karl Lagerfeld: The White Shirt Project’, Carine Roitfeld was a longtime collaborator of Karl’s, the style advisor to his namesake label and one of his closest friends. A visionary in her own right, Carine re-energised Karl’s love for form-fitting shape in her shirt with corset detailing. ‘Every seam has a purpose,’ says Carine. ‘My shirt is made with strong boning, and then I opened one side of the collar so it’s as if you ripped it. Karl liked tight shirts and high collars, but I love an open neckline.’ says Carine. ‘It’s difficult for Karl to have just one legacy. We have a lot from his past that we can look at and recreate for today.’

Diane Kruger’s shirt

New York-based German actor Diane Kruger was a muse and personal friend of Karl’s. ‘I could hear his voice in my head giving me a lesson about simplicity,’ she says on her approach to designing her tribute shirt. ‘Karl’s design was perfect, and I didn’t want to mess with perfection. I added a few quotes of his that have become truly iconic. This project reminded me fondly, once again, of how lucky I am to have known Karl,’ she reflects. ‘He was someone exceptional, and you could feel it when you were in his presence.’

Tommy Hilfiger’s shirt

‘To be able to pay tribute to Karl through design is an honour,’ says Tommy Hilfiger, a fellow designer and collaborator, and former close friend of Karl’s. ‘The energy and passion that Karl had for his work set the benchmark for creativity,’ Tommy reflects. ‘He had a forward-looking vision, which I have always admired. His influence on our industry is unparalleled and will always live on.’ Speaking of his design, he notes how he blended both his and Karl’s aesthetics. ‘I was inspired by his lucky number, seven, which is represented through the seven stars on each side of the shirt’s placket,’ he explains. ‘And we added the Tommy stripe detail to the shoulder, and reimagined Karl’s signature gloves in our classic colours of red, white and blue.’

Cara Delevingne’s shirt

The actor, musician and supermodel Cara Delevingne had a close relationship with Karl, both as a muse and close friend. She starred in numerous Chanel shows and campaigns and became one of the house’s most prominent faces. ‘One of my favourite things to do with Karl was to sit with him alone and hear stories about his past,’ she reflects. ‘His life was so fascinating. He was fascinated by the story of my tattoos, so my tribute shirt was a way of linking our artistic expression while honouring his memory.’ Cara also recalls how he helped her on a personal level; ‘Karl let me explore myself and opened me up to something I hadn’t seen in a while, and for that I will be forever grateful. I miss him so much.’

Kate Moss’s shirt

Kate and Karl’s friendship dates back to when her career first started nearly 30 years ago. Still one of the world’s most recognisable models, Kate now also works behind the camera on editorials and manages her own talent agency, Kate Moss Agency; it represents poet Sonny Hall, whose work features on her shirt. ‘I believe Karl would have loved him,’ she says of the spoken-word artist. ‘The poem is called Clutching Pens and it’s about laughter and happiness. Karl was always holding a pen and laughing; I think it is the perfect tribute to him. Karl was always looking to the future.’

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