It isn’t unusual for a fashion designer to sprinkle a bit of his fairy dust onto the humble products of car manufacturers. What is more unusual is for a fashion designer to create a bespoke car for himself. Which is exactly what Karl Lagerfeld did – twice.
Franco-German fashion icon, Karl Lagerfeld, is about as illustrious and flamboyant a homo sapiens as can be. That he chose neither a Rolls-Royce, nor a Mercedes 600 covered in mother of pearl, nor a carriage made of solid ivory, but the moderately sporting, restrained shape of BMW’s second and third generations of Seven series saloons as his personal means of transportation can therefore be described as a decision that is as surprising and idiosyncratic as the man himself.
The first Lagerfeld Seven, based on BMW’s breakthrough E32 luxury saloon, was actually the first high-profile product produced by BMW Individual, the Munich company’s bespoke branch. It’s bi-coloured looks are, of course, up for debate and would certainly suit a modern Rolls-Royce Phantom in more casual a fashion than the more earth-bound BMW, but the inherent creativity is certainly worthy of, at the very least, some recognition.
Lagerfeld’s second automotive effort is both at once more successful and less pleasing. Based on the stretched L7 variant of the E38-generation Seven, this limousine sports a slightly TVR-ish iridescent paint that is probably a marvel of craftsmanship, but looks just a bit tacky. The brown interior is actually a very pleasing colour that supports the chesterfield-like upholstery surprisingly well. Unfortunately, the E38’s technical interior design (actually its strong suit) occasionally jars with Lagerfeld’s ideas in a more obvious way than had been the case with the E32.
No matter how one rates these cars’ stylistic merits, one thing is for certain: either is obviously a much more appealing collector’s item than the Mercedes CLK Armani Edition.