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Becoming Karl Lagerfeld

Becoming Karl Lagerfeld

Daniel Brühl elevates this spectacular fashion feud drama

7.3

TV Show

France
French
Drama
2024
Agnès Jaoui, Alex Lutz, Anouk Feral

TLDR

I, too, am confused about the onslaught of fashion biopics lately, but this is one of the rare good ones.

What it's about

Loosely based on real events, the series follows German designer Karl Lagerfeld (Daniel Brühl) as he competes with Yves Saint Laurent (Arnaud Valois) both for the top spot in the fashion capital of the world and for the heart of the writer Jacques de Bascher (Théodore Pellerin).

The take

Becoming Karl Lagerfeld gets many things right—the fashion is spectacular, the drama is gripping, and the details feel true to the time. It’s never over-the-top and cartoonish, which seems to be a problem in most other biopics. But for all it has going for it, Brühl is the real star of the show. He seems to operate on a level beyond his peers where he’s no longer acting but simply inhibiting. Lagerfeld is a distant and wealthy designer, unavailable even to those closest to him, but Brühl manages to ground him with deeply relatable traits, like bitter jealousy, crushing loneliness, and unapologetic ambition. He doesn’t need a big scene or wordy dialogue to get these across, either, just a flicker of the eyes will do the trick. The only downside to the show is the occasional uneven tone. It’s as if the directors were unsure how to maximize the wealth of material they have on hand, so they crammed and juggled as much as they could into six episodes. Still, if you’re a fan of period pieces, powerfully subtle performances, and luxury fashion, then you’re in for a treat.

What stands out

Whenever Brühl plays a heartbroken or crushed Lagerfeld, or when he has to eat his feelings away, it is always a moving moment.

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