Update: No Isla Moda for Karl Lagerfeld (or anyone else)

In early October, I shared some fascinating images of Isla Moda, the “fashion-focused resort of the future.”  Many of you commented on the exciting designs and shared that you would love to visit one day, as would I.

Unfortunately, it appears that the recent press Isla Moda has received is unfounded, as the project appears to be, for all intensive purposes, dead.  Furthermore, as I learned today, Karl Lagerfeld’s involvement ended quite some time ago.


In mid-October, numerous media outlets, including New York Magazine’s The Cut and Vogue UK, ran articles about Isla Moda stating that the resort was being designed by Oppenheim Architecture+Design in collaboration with the legendary Karl Lagerfeld.   I found the concept quite fascinating, and decided to look into it some more.  My research into the resort took me to Oppenheim’s website, where I found additional information that I shared with my readers, including a statement discussing Lagerfeld’s involvement.

Unfortunately, it turns out this information was inaccurate and outdated.

It flew under my radar, but a few days after the original story was run by The Cut, they posted an update reflecting this.  The New York Observer had spoken to Carolina Botero, a representative from Oppenheim, who shared that the project was on hold and that the renderings had leaked onto the internet without the firm’s consent (note: at the time of my original post, the images were on Oppenheim’s website for all to see). She also told The Observer that:

“The project is on hold, basically,” she said. “It’s kind of unfortunate. I don’t know. There’s not a lot going on.” With the project or in Dubai? “There’s not a lot going on anywhere.”

But, what about Karl Lagerfeld?

The Observer article makes no mention of his involvement, and every item of press I have seen regarding Isla Moda mentions Lagerfeld and the collaboration.  Isla Moda even has a Facebook page (I am guessing it is unofficial) which has numerous images of Lagerfeld on it, linking him to the now-dead-in-the-water project.

Imagine my surprise when I received an email this morning from Caroline Lebar, Mr. Lagerfeld’s Communications Director, about this very subject.

It turns out that Lagerfeld’s part in the Isla Moda project ended some time ago.


According to Ms. Lebar, in July of 2008, Karl Lagerfeld did agree to participate in the Isla Moda project.

Unfortunately, due to Dubai’s severe financial crisis, the owners of the islands were unable to fulfill their obligations under the agreement and were forced to postpone the project sine die. This is undoubtedly what Carolina Botero was trying to tell The Observer. What Botero did not mention was that, consequently, Mr. Lagerfeld put an end to his collaboration with Isla Moda’’s owners.

So not only is the Isla Moda project postponed indefinitely – Lagerfeld is no longer involved at all.

And so the Fashion Resort of the Future comes to a sad, sad end…

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  • Anonymous November 3, 2010, 5:42 AM

    What a sad ending, thanks for this follow up though
    Much Appreciated


  • Heather Fonseca November 3, 2010, 3:45 AM

    It looked too good to be true!

    • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 1:59 AM

      Unfortunately, it was! I am curious as to why the story was rehashed in October. It seems like a lot of this went down in 2008.

  • Casee Marie November 2, 2010, 9:52 PM

    Aw, what a shame. The entire idea of a “fashion-focused resort of the future” was so hard to imagine – it all seems so very…futuristic! Technology has come up with some amazing things, but for the most part they all felt very accurate at the time. I think it’s just too early for this one. We can all dream, though!

    • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 1:57 AM

      You may be right, although I wonder if it was the timing that was the issue, or the location. My guess would be it i a combination of the two. There was just too much going on in Dubai. Their economy couldn’t handle all the crazy plans the developers had.

  • Anonymous November 2, 2010, 7:40 PM

    Ohhh, such sad news. It seemed this would have been very successful, I’m very surprised they’re not continuing with it.

    • Beautifully Invisible November 6, 2010, 1:52 AM

      A lot of projects in Dubai have gone this route, unfortunately. There are countless massive construction projects that have bankrupted their economy!