Lagerfeld + Humm – 7 Days Out

Have you been watching 7 Days Out?

It’s a late December Netflix offering from Andrew Rossi, who also directed The First Monday in May. In it, we ‘witness the excitement and drama behind the scenes in the seven days leading up to major live events in the worlds of sports, fashion, space and food.’

The series follows a diverse range of events from the Westminster Dog Show to a League of Legends Tournament and NASA’s Cassini Mission. Of particular interest to us are Episode 5, a Chanel Haute Couture Fashion show helmed by Karl Lagerfeld, and Episode 2, the re-opening of New York restaurant Eleven Madison Park, the award-winning collaboration of Chef Daniel Humm and Restaurateur, Will Guidara.

As Lagerfeld, Humm, Guidara and their talented teams count down the days, we get a peek into their intensely creative preparations. Some take-away lessons …

Creative Take-Aways

Chef Humm offers “the four fundamentals; they define our cuisine.”

1.  Delicious
“The dish has to be delicious.” After a successful taste test, Humm congratulates the team:”Really well done, everyone. But, I think it can always be better.”

2. Beautiful
“This is not the prettiest I’ve seen,” says Humm upon inspecting a dish. “Visually, I think we can make something more beautiful.”

3. Creativity
“It’s very important that every dish add something to the dialogue of food today.”

4. Intention
And, Humm explains: “It needs to make sense that this dish exists.” “This dish is about the chanterelle, no? Then make it taste like chanterelle.”

To make things more complicated, Humm adds: “Between the four fundamentals, they work against each other. Like creativity and deliciousness – they don’t go hand in hand. But they both need to be there.”

From Karl, we hear about the importance of:

5. A Clear vision
“I have a tight precise concept.”

6. Certainty
There is “no second option,” Lagerfeld asserts. “I know instantly what I want and what I don’t want.”

7. Clarity
“Nothing is worse than people who hesitate,” Chanel’s leader explains. “You  have to have a precise idea and stay with it. If there’s a technical problem, you have to explain it in three seconds.” “Jacqueline, the pins in the back are a little too defined. What happened?”

8. Visceral response
“The skirt is too long,” says Karl as they show him the work to date. “Just cut the fringes that fall down. It’s gross.”

9. A different way of seeing
And Lagerfeld visualizes things uniquely. “It could use some more feathers. It shouldn’t tumble down. It looks like old snow. But here it looks like an old frying pan.”

10. Competitive Achievers
Restaurateur Guidara says: “I think one of the things about Daniel and I that is similar is that if we choose to do something, we want to be the best at it.” Humm – who started his career as a professional cyclist in Switzerland – agrees: “When I was 21, I thought maybe I should be a chef. Maybe I should take this competitiveness into the kitchen.” And to his fellow chefs on Opening Night, Humm declares: “Let’s make it as good as humanly possible.”

11. Perfect Precision
“He will shorten it sometime by a centimetre,” the devoted Chanel team says of Karl. “He will go: ‘I’m sorry, a centimetre.’ If a première has to undo an entire suit, that is what will happen.”

12. Details Rule
Guidara takes elaborate steps to ensure that the beautiful new blue velvet banquettes at Eleven Madison park aren’t prickly on diners’ backs: “It’s not a question of whether it’s a problem. It is a problem. I don’t know if we need to grind it down or…” “We think of excellence as thousands of details executed perfectly,” he says later. “If you can focus on them individually as opposed to a whole, that’s when you actually get somewhere.”

13. Expert technique
A member of the Chanel team is painstaking in working with feathers for the finale wedding dress/tuxedo skirt: “I blow on them so they don’t get stuck inside. So that I can pin it more easily. It’s meticulous. You need a lot of patience and practice.”

14. It’s not over till…
Chef Humm: “I really push to the very last minute if I feel something can be better. Even an entire dish can completely change.”

15. Agility
“We are always at the mercy of a little hiccup at the last minute,” say the Chanel team. And on Opening Day, Humm adds: “You can practice as long as you want, and then when you go into the game, everything kind of changes. That’s kind of how it feels today. We don’t know exactly what’s going to happen.”

16. Teamwork
Though he is regularly lauded as a genius, Lagerfeld says: “I believe only in teams. I couldn’t do what I’m doing without good premières.. I’m lucky to have the people I have. It’s very simple, in fact.” “This is a team sport,” agrees the also-lauded Humm. “The things that we have done to get where we are is incredible. You just have to do whatever it takes.”

By Elizabeth Newton

Photos Courtesy of 7 Days Out. Netflix


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Elizabeth Newton

Elizabeth Newton