Lagerfeld famously won the inaugural Woolmark Prize in 1954, an accolade he shared with Yves Saint Laurent. So this project is a full circle moment for both parties, made all the more significant by the introduction of the first Karl Lagerfeld Award at the 2020 International Woolmark Prize. “The award will honour and celebrate everything that Karl stood for: cutting-edge innovation, inexhaustible creativity, an original perspective, and a forward-thinking attitude,” says Pier Paolo Righi, CEO of Karl Lagerfeld. “I’m touched that we are able to continue building upon this long-standing relationship with the company that helped to launch Karl’s career.”
In fact, the Knit Karl kit proposal was presented to Lagerfeld before he passed away on 19 February. “He didn’t hesitate one second,” says Caroline Lebar, head of image and communications at Karl Lagerfeld. “What made him take this decision was not only about him telling his story. He was not so much about going back in time. It was about how elegant the project was. And in his mind, knitting was something that was coming back.” Astute observer that he was, the designer had noticed models knitting backstage at his Chanel and Fendi shows.
Lebar continues: “With him passing away, the meaning of the project has changed a bit. Now, instead of seeing Karl passing away at the moment of the anniversary [on February 19], we will see Karl very young. I don’t know if you know, but Karl did not start off thinking of being a designer; this job didn’t exist at the time – he wanted to be an illustrator. He started thinking about being a designer when he won the Woolmark Prize. So this project is a big mix of a lot of things. It’s the fun of the contest, the beauty of the box, the do-it-yourself aspect, but it is also the story of Karl and the hope for the others.”
As for the 777 kits available, and the dates of the contest, 7 February to 7 March, that’s simple. Seven was Lagerfeld’s lucky number. The designers and eager knitters of all levels should keep their eyes on social media where individual codes will be shared. Those codes can be entered for a chance to win a Knit Karl kit at knitkarl.com.