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February 19 marked the third anniversary of Karl Lagerfeld’s death. When architect Aline Asmar d’Amman was commissioned to redesign the Hôtel de Crillon, she asked the designer to collaborate—making it one of the final projects to come from the mind of “King Karl.”
Just returned from Venice, where she has been overseeing the renovation of the historic Palazzo Dona Giovanelli and setting up the Lebanese pavilion for the Biennale, the architect will tell you that the memory of working with Lagerfeld gives her great pleasure. We chatted virtually with the designer to hear some of her memories of the project.
Karl Lagerfeld was a busy man until the end. How did you manage to convince him to collaborate on the renovation of the Hôtel de Crillon?
Aline Asmar d’Amman: I did what I have done since I was a little girl whenever I wanted something very much: I took a pen and a piece of paper and wrote him a letter. With it, I went to the 7L bookstore, where he not only had his private library, but also a large studio. I asked the bookseller, Vincent, to put the envelope on his table, but he didn’t give me much hope.
What happened next?
My phone rang the next day. I didn’t answer it at first because the number was blocked. So Lagerfeld left me a message. He said he’d call me back in half an hour. And exactly 30 minutes later, the phone rang again.
Do you remember how the conversation went?
Like it was yesterday. He thanked me for the letter and said he found the project appealing. When he quoted the poet Malaparte, who had once said that the Hôtel de Crillon was “the best of Paris today,” it dawned on me that something could come of it.
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