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NEW YORK — Karl Lagerfeld, video game warrior?
Not quite, but the designer will get his game close-up in the much-anticipated fourth installment of “Grand Theft Auto,” due out on April 29. While “Grand Theft Auto” fanatics will not encounter Lagerfeld speeding down the road or lurking in a dark alley, they can cruise through the game’s Liberty City listening to him on the radio as he DJs on air at the game’s K109 The Studio station.
Lagerfeld was introduced to executives of maker Rockstar Games through his friend, Daphne Guinness, and called the encounter a “friendship at first sight.” He didn’t hesitate about participating. “They are the games of our times,” he said. “Those games in a way changed the world.”
In video games, few things are as anticipated as “Grand Theft Auto IV” — and Lagerfeld’s role is sure to further that sentiment, particularly in fashion circles. “Grand Theft Auto” is one of the most successful video games and has sold more than 65 million copies. Much as it has become iconic, it also has been controversial for its violent nature.
The next installment of the game, which retails for $59.99, will focus on Eastern European immigrant Niko Bellic’s search for success in America. Bellic has to navigate his way through Liberty City, the game’s grimy version of New York, replete with a melting pot of languages, hot dog vendors, music blasting from passing cars, taxis stuck in traffic and passersby on their cell phones.
Players can pick from multiple radio stations for the soundtrack, ranging from licensed songs to new ones. Lagerfeld picked his favorite electronica and dance music and peppered the selection with some of his rapid-fire commentary.
“They had written a politically incorrect dialogue,” the designer said. “I loved it, [particularly] in a time when everybody wants to be so politically correct when they talk.”
He didn’t have to dig too deep to find his music selection. “Music is part of the life of fashion, too,” he said. “Through the famous sound stylist Michel Gaubert, I’m very much ‘au courant’ and know what’s going on.”
While Lagerfeld hasn’t succumbed to game mania and is unlikely to trade in his sketchbook for a wireless controller quite yet, he admitted that he isn’t opposed to being a visible game character fighting his way through an imaginary metropolis one day. “I prefer to be in a video than to play with it,” Lagerfeld said. “I would love to be a very nasty, politically incorrect character.”