Spontaneous trips to Dubai on a private jet, free designer outfits for every occasion, and counting Karl Lagerfeld as one of your closest pals — not to mention, your son’s godfather? It might be the stuff of fantasy, but this is just another day in the life of Brad Kroenig, the 35-year-old model who for the past decade has been one of “Karl’s Boys,” the flock of really, really, really ridiculously good-looking men Lagerfeld is rarely seen without (the Kaiser casts them in his runway shows and jet-sets with them across the world).
Now The New York Times is diving headfirst into the mysterious history of Kroenig and Lagerfeld’s unusual, long-standing relationship. And, as you can imagine, the story is stocked with plenty of gems. First, a little-known fact: Kroenig’s big break actually wasn’t a Chanel campaign. Rather, it was an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. After landing the coveted spot on an A&F shopping bag (“I was fully nude, like a butt shot,” he remembers), the St. Louis native quickly moved up the modeling ranks. He first captivated Lagerfeld on a 2003 VMAN shoot in Biarritz alongside other models, an experience that unofficially crowned him the designer’s latest muse. “He probably took one picture of each of the other guys and, like, 20 of me,” Kroenig said. He’s been working with the designer practically nonstop since then, posing for Chanel and Fendi, as well as walking the catwalk with his five-year-old son (and Lagerfeld’s godson) Hudson.
But, as The New York Times notes, being the Kaiser’s go-to guy also has downsides: having to wear double-layered designer tank tops (per Lagerfeld’s request); quitting the local adult softball team so as not to risk injury to his face; and, perhaps the oddest problem, worrying about women in his town of Wyckoff, New Jersey, finding nude images of him online. Still, it’s worth it to be a part of Lagerfeld’s self-selected family. Just take it from the designer himself, who, despite not wanting to label his boys (“Labels is something I design for, they’re not what I give to persons”), admits that their relationship is a special one. “I see them like family,” he said. Then, in a true Karl-ism, he elaborates, “I have no family at all, so it’s good to have, like, sons but without the unpleasant problems sons can create.” (NYT)