The quietest collaborator of designer Karl Lagerfeld, his “man for everything”, Sébastien Jondeau, has brought up the dirty laundry in the book “Ça va, cher Karl?”, In which he reveals the rivalry between the favorites of the “Kaiser “, but also the betrayals and gossip of his most famous friends.
Following the example of the French elites, who are used to publishing memoirs and testimonies with ease, who was for twenty years a driver, bodyguard, model, companion or, as he defines himself, Lagerfeld’s “guardian of tranquility”, has also decided to count their experiences on paper.
“Ça va, Cher Karl?” (How are you doing, dear Karl?) It was the message he sent her every morning and is the title of the nearly 300-page story in which he recounts meals, vacations, and trips with Lagerfeld and an entourage of celebrities.
Coming from the northern outskirts of Paris, from a family marked by disgrace, Jondeau was a troubled young man who saw in Lagerfeld an opportunity for a change of scene.
Since adolescence he worked in transportation and that was how at the age of fifteen he put himself at its service for the first time.
A few years later he asked her to hire him full time. The tasks of chauffeur and courier soon fell short to describe all the tasks that the Chanel designer, who died in February 2019, entrusted to him.
The “Kaiser” liked his formality and his professionalism. But the boy’s naturalness and his humble origins made him an atypical piece at Lagerfeld’s elegant gatherings: “Everybody adores you,” he told her after spending a month on vacation in Biarritz.
An unsolved mystery
Jondeau, now 45 years old and a contributor to the Fendi firm, where Lagerfeld worked for years, is one of seven people according to the French press listed in the “Kaiser’s” billionaire will.
Two years after his death, it remains unsolved. The reason for the discord seems to be a confrontation with the French treasury complicated by the mysterious disappearance of Lagerfeld’s accountant, Lucien Frydlender, untraceable and missing from the map.
Although leaving some loose threads, Jondeau directly accuses Frydlender of the problems he had with the Treasury. So much so that, days before the death of the German creator, he shared with him his doubts about the reliability of the person responsible for his accounts.
Jondeau’s salary, of about 3,500 euros a month, was compensated by generous tips and gifts unimaginable for any ordinary worker: luxury clothes, motorcycles, cars … even a 110-square-meter flat in the center of Paris , owned by actress Diane Kruger, and that Lagerfeld bought from her “in five minutes.”
“After Karl’s disappearance, I realized that neither the apartment on rue de Lille nor the one on rue de Verneuil was in my name. I was his tenant. My wealth was cultural and social. In the months that followed after his death, some people continued to be friends: it’s the best thing that Karl left me. Others left me, “she writes.
Rivalry between favorites
The book is full of little anecdotes, like the failed attempts of the American rapper Kanye West to attract the attention of Lagerfeld, who did not hesitate to express his disinterest in his music.
Jondeau was one of the few people who was aware of the cancer that killed the designer and the decline in his health since 2015. Lagerfeld had asked that there be no ceremony after his death – a slogan that was not respected – of he. “You incinerate me, take the ashes and go with Carolina of Monaco to spread them in the sea from her boat,” he told her.
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Undoubtedly, one of the most controversial points of the book, which except for a few gossip has little literary interest, is the relationship between Lagerfeld and his favorites and the rivalry between them.
The model Baptiste Giabiconi, who claimed after the death of his number 1 heir, takes the worst part. “I am proud of my position with Karl, of that place that I conquered alone (…) but I feel that I am associated with Baptiste and that I cannot bear,” he assures.
He describes Giabiconi as selfish and selfish who “embeds himself” in whatever situation he can take advantage of, and who also developed an almost unhealthy envy for Jondeau.
Nor are Brad Kroenig and Jake Davis spared, other model friends, whom he describes to a lesser or greater degree as careerists and not very generous with the man who entertained them and who undoubtedly promoted their careers.
Jondeau sees himself as a son to the designer, and is honest with the rejection with which the dressmaker faced death, hiding his illness from almost all his colleagues and friends.
Lagerfeld’s last words in the hospital, and in line with what the “Kaiser” used throughout his life, were honest, bitter and scathing: “It is at least stupid to have three Rolls-Royces and end up in one room.