Hardcover: 48 pages
Lady Amanda Harlech is known as designer and photographer Karl Lagerfeld's "eye outside Paris," and has been his personal and professional muse and collaborator for a decade. Her sensibility, which presently informs the Chanel aesthetic, is evidenced by the vivid and often darkly humorous prose of Palazzo, a collaboration which combines a short story by Harlech with a series of illustrative black-and-white photographs by Lagerfeld. Palazzo explores a glamorous but equivocal romance, at once steeped in visual wealth and riddled with emotional ambivalence. The narrative depicts Principessa Allegra and her American fiance, who at first seem to be a beautiful and enviable couple. As events unfold, we see that this relationship is in fact complex and shaded with reluctance and suppressed tensions. Palazzo is a contemporary drama, but a drama that is deeply infused with a sense of the theatrical past--indeed the Palazzo Taverna in Rome is not only the setting for the story, but a vessel which contains a complex history itself (on which Lagerfeld elaborates in an epilogue in the book). While describing a degree of decadence which most can only aspire to, Palazzo also explores the disquieting emotional states present in all human relationship--expectation, compromise and regret.