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Harper's Bazaar Commissioned a Painting of Karl Lagerfeld's Eyeball

Photo: Getty Images

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The September issue of Harper's Bazaar has delivered on what we never knew we were missing: the chance to gaze upon huge, blown-out oil paintings of famous designer eyeballs. Artist Marc Quinn took photographs of Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, and Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen and then, over the course of several months, painted each person's singular eyeball.

After the paintings were finished, each designer was asked to describe what they saw. "The color that soothes my eyes: blue," says Burton. "I don't have a favorite fashion image, but I love the work of Richard Avedon and Irving Penn. Marc Quinn captures the complexity, intricacy, and beauty of the eye; not one is the same. But my favorite thing to look at? My girls."

McCartney dug deep: "Marc's paintings make me realize that we are part of the universe, that we are not everything," she tells Harper's Bazaar. "All the creatures on this Earth have the same extraordinary eyes as we do. You know what I could stare at all day? My children."

But Karl Lagerfeld dug deepest of all: "This image completely surprised me; I could hardly believe it was my eye," he says. "It's quite beautiful. It's something I've never seen before. Nothing is more refreshing than the discovered unknown. I wear black glasses all the time—they're my portable eye shadow—so I don't see my eyes very often. There's not just fire in my eyes, there's my mind. Not what you thought, darling."

Stella McCartney

Stella McCartney by Marc Quinn for Harper's Bazaar

Sarah Burton

Sarah Burton by Marc Quinn for Harper's Bazaar

Karl Lagerfeld

Karl Lagerfeld by Marc Quinn for Harper's Bazaar