PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld says he’s ready to face the cameras.
“I haven’t signed any papers, because there are other people in our company to do that, but I met with the people from Q2, and I think we should do something,” the designer said late Tuesday.
Lagerfeld met here earlier in the week with representatives of Q2, including Harlan Bratcher, senior vice president of merchandising, and Diane Von Furstenberg, Q2’s creative director. He credits Von Furstenberg with spurring his interest in electronic selling.
“Diane is one of those people you get ideas just from talking to,” he said. “She’s very positive and down-to-earth.”
While details have yet to be ironed out, Lagerfeld said his idea right now is to go on the air with items for men and women.
“It could be based on a group of shirts and blouses in beautiful cottons, with bows and things like that, mixed with skindress pieces,” he said, referring to the body-hugging, stocking-knit sheer dresses and separates he has shown in the last two Karl Lagerfeld collections.
“And you know, I must admit I love going on TV,” Lagerfeld said. “I feel very at ease there. I am not one of those people who is scared by the camera. After all, it’s just a piece of glass, some electricity and metal, no?”
In New York, Bratcher said Wednesday that no date has been set for Lagerfeld’s television debut.
“We’re not going to rush him,” he said. “He’s working on prototypes now.”
Lagerfeld’s entrance into the home shopping arena could give the industry the fashion credibility that it has been seeking.
Industry experts believe that if a high-end designer like Lagerfeld — who is responsible for the Chanel, Chloe and Fendi collections, as well as a collection under his own name — can sell on TV, other top designers cannot be far behind.
“There is no question that Lagerfeld will help the image of home shopping,” said R. Fulton Macdonald, president of International Business Development, a retail consulting firm. “Just as Saks Fifth Avenue and Barry Diller [QVC’s chairman] redefined the home shopping industry, which had been viewed as cheap jewelry sold late at night, Lagerfeld’s participation will add the imprimatur of elegance and credibility.
“Designers will reconsider, particularly if Lagerfeld does well,” Macdonald added. “They’ll want to see how he is received.”
Bratcher said designers have responded already. He said they called after Lagerfeld’s meeting with Q2 was reported in WWD on April 21. He declined to name the designers.
In addition, Bratcher said he has met with Susie Tompkins, who has agreed to design two collections for Q2, one under her own name and the other under the Esprit label.