Zahia Dehar may be an unfamiliar name here in the US, but she's tabloid fodder on a grand scale over in Europe. She caused a furor in France back in 2010 when it was revealed that she had slept with several prominent French footballers for payment (about £2,000 a night, according to an article in the Telegraph at that time). Prostitution is legal in France, but you have to be 18 to peddle your wares, and she wasn't.
What does any of this have to do with fashion, you ask? Well, her preternaturally inflated curves (the pic at left is one of the tamer ones of Zahia that exist) caught the fancy of a few editors, artists, and photographers. She was featured on the cover of V Spain in spring 2011 and Vanity Fair Italy in August 2011. In a V interview she alluded to some future projects:
V: The French press talks a lot about your upcoming projects. There are rumors about lingerie, perfume, clothing lines. Can you share anything about your future plans? ZD: The French press says a lot of things about me. [Laughs] It’s still a bit too early for me to talk about my plans. Let’s just say that what I’ve been imagining for years is coming to life.
It turns out that Karl Lagerfeld helped bring it to life. WWD reported earlier this month that Zahia was designing a "couture" line of lingerie--and despite her sordid past, we're not talking stripper heels and Frederick's of Holly wood here. Legit couture artisans like François Tamarin, Bruno Legeron, and Jean-Pierre Ollier worked on the one-off pieces. According to WWD, she'll debut her collection on January 25 in Paris during couture week. And to complete her journey to fashion legitimacy, none other than Karl Lagerfeld shot her for the line's look book--which will be handed out in the press kit at the show. He told WWD, that the shots are “very, very funny, like Vargas pinups. It was fun to do her.” He went on to call Zahia “very French courtesan, like Diane de Poitiers or the Belle Otéro." He also made sure to add, “I have nothing to do with her collection.”
Zahia tweeted last week (@ZahiaOfficiel): Etre photographiée par Karl Lagerfeld est comme un rêve qui devient réalité... (Being photographed by Karl Lagerfeld is like a dream come true).
Couture week just got a lot more interesting.