Actor Jared Leto will play Karl Lagerfeld in a film about his life, Leto’s production company Paradox announced today in a joint statement with Lagerfeld’s company of the same name.

    Leto’s role will transcend that of the late designer as the actor is also a key producer alongside Emma Ludbrook. The film’s exact plot is unknown at this time, but three of Karl Lagerfeld’s closest confidants, Pier Paolo Righi, Caroline Lebar and Sébastien Jondeau, will serve as executive producers alongside Leto and Ludbrook to “represent the most important relationships in Karl Lagerfeld’s life” on the bring the canvas to life.

    Karl Lagerfeld and his closest companions. Photo: Cesar Segarra

    Together, Righi, Lebar and Jondeau look back on over 65 years of experience alongside the legendary designer. Pier Paolo Righi was appointed Managing Director of Karl Lagerfeld’s eponymous fashion brand in 2011, while Caroline Lebar worked with the designer on his press strategy for any of his projects for 35 years and as Senior Vice President of Image & Communication at fashion house Karl Lagerfeld for almost 40 years is active. As the designer’s personal bodyguard and assistant, Sébastien Jondeau was one of his most loyal companions for decades. To this day, Jondeau also works as a style consultant and advisor for Lagerfeld’s brand.

    “Over the years, Hollywood producers have approached them about a film about the designer’s life,” Righi said in a statement. He added that it wasn’t until they “met Emma and Jared that they were certain that the story would be told in the artistic way Karl would have liked it to be.”

    Jared Leto, best known as a close friend and muse of Gucci creative director Alessandro Michele alongside his work as an actor and singer, insists that Lagerfeld has always been one of his sources of inspiration. “He was a true polymath, an artist, an innovator, a leader, and most importantly, a kind person,” Leto says of his connection to and perspective on Lagerfeld.

    After the first meeting with Lagerfeld’s team, it was clear that everyone involved in the film “shared a common vision” and was interested in creating a “respectful tribute to Karl while pushing the artistic boundaries of a biographical film”.

    Karl Lagerfeld’s lasting influence on the fashion industry

    The news that Lagerfeld’s life is to be filmed comes just days after the announcement of the May 2023 exhibition at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute sign of the designer. The auction of a German private collection with drawings, posters and photographs by Karl Lagerfeld during Paris Fashion Week also underscores Karl Lagerfeld’s continuing cultural and fashion importance, even three years after his death in 2019.

    Not just words of praise for Lagerfeld

    Not everyone sees the glorification of Lagerfeld positively. The designer, who is undoubtedly one of the most important fashion designers of all time, was not only known for his creations, but also for his sharp tongue. Actress Jameela Jamil took to Instagram to criticize the designer’s choice to be the figurehead of the Metropolitan Museum of Fashion’s exhibition. His talent “is undeniable,” but the designer “also uses his platform in such a downright hateful way, especially towards women.” In her post, Jamil refers to several of the designer’s controversial statements in which he spoke out against the #MeToo movement, against adoption rights for same-sex couples and negatively about the refugee crisis.

    The actress also recalled the sometimes disrespectful way in which Lagerfeld often commented on overweight people. “You can’t stand for justice in these areas and then attend the celebration in honor of a person who displayed his own public contempt for marginalized groups,” warned Jamil, a statement particularly relevant in light of the annual opening ceremony of the Costume Institute’s exhibition of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the so-called Met Gala, is particularly popular.