LA MAISON: 21 RUE SAINT-GUILLAUME
Since his arrival in Paris in the early 1950s, Karl Lagerfeld shared a connection with Saint-Germain-des-Prés, a connection which lives on today. The spirit of the neighborhood resonated with him — with its artistic and literary fervor, book stores, antique dealers and cafés, it was a hub for passionate creatives. Over the years, he had lived all over Saint-Germain and, ever curious, had come to learn a great deal about the neighborhood’s architecture, with its rich Art Nouveau and Art Deco heritage.
It was no surprise then, that he chose to establish his namesake Maison in a hôtel particulier at 21 Rue Saint-Guillaume, in the heart of Saint-Germain-des-Prés. Erected in 1887, the building was designed by architect Albert Tournade (1847-1891), known for his award-winning design for the protestant Temple Neuf in Strasbourg and his prize-winning submission to the competition for the Sacré-Cœur Basilica in Paris.
The neoclassical architectural style of the street — with its grandeur of scale, simplicity of geometric forms, blank walls and Roman detail — was the new taste for antique simplicity. It proved to be the perfect backdrop for one of Karl Lagerfeld’s longstanding inspirations: Art Deco. The visual arts and architecture movement, originating in France in the 1920s, combined streamlined, modern and geometric styles with fine craftsmanship and rich materials.
Karl’s love of Art Deco had led him to amass a well-edited collection of furniture, lamps decorative arts and ceramics which he had been collecting since the 1960s. The collection represented what he called the “‘the roots of modernity,’ an Art Deco style which is restricted to the sparest of forms, expressing both originality and elegance.” A style which he embraced not only in the decoration of his homes, but in that of the maison in addition to his own designs.
Art Deco represents sleek and anti-traditional elegance that looks to the future, a concept which pairs well with the creative vision of his brand: one that interprets timeless Parisian style, with a touch of modern rock chic. To this day, the movement is intertwined with the brand’s DNA, appearing throughout the KARL LAGERFELD collections with perfect forms, sharp angles and polished silhouettes that look to the future.