The inspiration for the Spring-Summer 2009 Ready-to-Wear campaign
A Danish painter from the early 20th Century, Vilhelm Hammershoi, is the inspiration for the Spring-Summer 2009 campaign. Karl Lagerfeld has a passion for the low-key interiors of this artist who was keen to swathe everyday life in stillness and silence. All his recurring motifs: empty apartments, urban scenes and portraits systematically call to mind a closed world where melancholy and emptiness, common themes that can be found throughout his work, reign. This world focuses all its attention on a single window with no curtains or catches, usually in the background of the picture, the only source of light reduced to just a few rays of hazy, filtered sunshine.
Similarities can be seen with photography of the time, taken in black and white and then colored in. When asked in an interview about his neutral color choices, his dull pallet of shades of grey and brown, Vilhelm Hammershoi said “I’m utterly convinced that a painting has the best effect in terms of its color the fewer colors there are.”
Hammershoi never allowed himself to be influenced by the artistic revolutions of his time. He carefully kept his distance, limiting himself to a small number of subjects and found his inspiration in 17th century Dutch painting.
What’s more, it is only recently that we are rediscovering the modernity of his paintings, contemporaries of the birth of photography and cinema. The similarity between photography and painting gives Hammershoi’s work an ambivalent character and an astonishingly modern feel.