My audience with Karl Lagerfeld - and his entourage

Credit: ITV News

By ITV News Correspondent Nina Nannar


And so it began. A murmur of nervous anticipation through the gallery. The great man was ON OUR SHORES.

Anticipation soon turned to terror.

HE'S ACTUALLY WALKING THROUGH THE FRONT GATES. The immaculately dressed fashionistas gasped and hurtled towards the lifts.

The British publicist Sue, in truth as bemused as we were, grabbed my arm. "Come on Nina, Let's get to get the entrance so you can greet HIM!"

Hah - we avoided the lifts down to the entrance of the Saatchi Gallery - what if they broke down and we MISSED HIM.

The foyer was predictably rammed. But I have never elbowed my way through a more beautifully dressed crowd. Yep, dripping with Chanel.

What if Kaiser Karl can tell in once glance that my trousers are off the sale rack in Dorothy Perkins? I gulped.

Nina Nannar speaks to Karl Lagerfeld - with a member of his entourage keeping a close eye Credit: ITV News

"Let's do this interview sitting down behind a table" I ventured. Sorted.

You see Karl Lagerfeld is not a person. He's an event.

I have interviewed some big names in my time. Last week, it was Robert De Niro who shuffled into the room, dressed like my dear late Dad, with a couple of studio publicists.

Before him, Al Pacino who rock and rolled into our interview room with ONE PR ONLY!!!

Come on Hollywood, get your act together. Karl sashays into the Saatchi Gallery which is staging a Chanel exhibition, with what looks like the entire front row of one of his sold out fashion shows. And they mean business. It's like the Spanish Inquisition, except they're from Paris, Chanel's HQ. And they're very worried. Apparently one of them decides I'm the reporter who in a previous interview dared to asked Karl about his comments on singer Adele's size.

Karl Lagerfeld casts his sunglasses over the Mademoiselle Privé exhibition Credit: ITV News

There are instructions for us. "Monsieur would like to go into the gallery ON HIS OWN to see the exhibition first - all cameras OUT, until Monsieur has seen his work on display".

Quite frankly, Steven Spielberg could have been in there shooting a three hour feature film and they wouldn't have spotted him.

First, because Karl never takes his sunglasses off. And it was a dark gallery I can tell you.

And Karl Lagerfeld's "alone" is not like yours and mine. He is surrounded by Chanel executives and beautiful people the whole time. Between the crowd, the darkness and the cloud of very pleasant Chanel Number 05, Lagerfeld's signature white ponytail could only be glimpsed occasionally as he perused his gowns and Coco's Chanel's jewellery collection.

For all that - the strange metallic looking fingerless gloves, the high white starched collar, just one step down from Harry Hill, it's hard not to like Karl Lagerfeld.

During our interview his powerful PR team anxiously crowd round, gasping and moving towards me as I mention young fashion models - my ITN colleague Laura should really think about becoming a bouncer - and getting my utterly exasperated camera crew to poke me to finish talking.

Karl's entourage never strayed too far from our cameras

My two award winning cameramen Toby and Mark have worked in some of the most dangerous, war torn countries in the world. But I could see it in their eyes. I had lost them, they were defeated, this assignment had crushed their hope. Welcome to my world guys.

Karl though is as smooth as his impossibly flawless 82 year old complexion. Does he know all this pushing and loud whispering is going on around us? I am not sure but he fixes his gaze - well I think he did, he had his sunglasses on - and answers in his own inimitable way.

He doesn't do politically correct. He hates people who do he says. On moral responsibilities for a multi billion pound company? I believe in that he says but its not a subject for conversation, actually it's boring. That's me told.

He's said in the past about his industry - it's just dresses. That would be to downplay what a staggering influence he has had, and continues to have since he took over the Chanel brand three decades ago. He still does eight collections a year for the brand, not to mention his work on his eponymous label and Fendi. He is a workaholic.

And he is charming. funny and has nothing to prove.

But just lose the entourage Karl.

The Chanel exhibition, Mademoiselle Prive, is free at the Saatchi Gallery until 1 November.