Lagerfeld to Design Dubai Digs

Karl Lagerfeld, famous for his multitasking, is trying on the decorator's hat.

PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld, famous for his multitasking, is trying on the decorator’s hat.

This story first appeared in the July 9, 2008 issue of WWD.  Subscribe Today.

The designer, who between his various fashion gigs also takes photographs and runs a publishing venture, said Tuesday he signed a deal with Dubai Infinity Holdings, or DIH, to conceive “limited edition” homes on Dubai’s Isla Moda.

Isla Moda is an island dedicated to fashion that will be part of the Emirate city’s ambitious “The World” project, a man-made archipelago that will form the pattern of the earth’s continents as viewed from above.

“The discovery of contemporary mediums of expression has allowed me to pursue my interest in art, beauty, architecture and progressive cultural exchange,” Lagerfeld said. “Dubai is a fashion bud on the verge of blossoming into the next fashion hub of the world. The city is alive with culture and rich in personality, making a perfect place for aesthetics, fashion and design to flourish.”

DIH, a Dubai-based investment company with interests in technology, education, health care and entertainment, said Lagerfeld would design 80 residential homes on the island. Ten percent of those will be made-to-measure. Development of the island begins later this year with completion slated for 2011.

DIH said an additional four yet-to-be-named “iconic designers” would be hired to bring their “personal touch” to Isla Moda. “We believe that the synergy of cultures will give Isla Moda international status and make it an iconic landmark on the fashion world map,” said Samira Abdulrazzak, chief executive officer of DIH.

The deal between Lagerfeld and DIH is the latest fashion tie-up in Dubai, the fast-growing Gulf kingdom that has become the oil-rich region’s shopping and vacation capital.

Elie Saab last month said he would start designing signature luxury hotels with Dubai real estate developer Tatweer. His first project will be a high-end boutique hotel at The Tiger Woods Dubai resort, which is expected to open in September 2009.

Meantime, fashion brands, including Versace, Armani, Salvatore Ferragamo, Christian Lacroix and Bulgari, are designing hotels and/or residences in various locations around the world.

Lagerfeld long has gravitated to art and design, having assembled impressive collections of Art Deco and French 18th-century furniture that he sold at auction for great profit.

More recently his taste has migrated to contemporary design, and he outfitted his Paris apartment overlooking the Seine River with pieces created no earlier than the turn of this century.

Isla Moda is being billed as a lifestyle development that will be “curated” by the world’s leading fashion designers. It will combine a fashion resort with “haute couture” residences, luxury retail outlets, and a hotel — Hotel Moda — with rooms to be designed by fashion personalities.

DIH said the agreement with Lagerfeld covers future developments in Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and India.