PARIS, March 3, 2006 - Karl Lagerfeld is a little too well dressed to be
mistaken for an eccentric German grandpa, otherwise you might expect him to
be running around in lederhosen tinkering with cuckoo clocks in his spare
time. Instead, he photographs the rich and the famous, acts as a style
consultant for Vogue, brings his considerable reputation to support Hedi
Slimane each season at Dior, and for a day job designs Fendi, Chanel and his
eponymous label now transferred to New York. One of my favorite photographs
is his picture snapped of Marilyn Monroe at a Frank Sinatra recording session
in the early 60s. Longevity more than anything has been his watchword.
Younger designers could learn an important lesson from him, namely from his
ability to keep the House of Chanel looking young and fresh each season by
infusing his own ideas without recopying archival sketches.
Friday morning’s show held in the Grand Palais saw models trooping down a
long runway set up under enormous skylights, and singer Sting sitting front
row. Among the reworked tweed suits, the golden filigree added to the
shoulders of a jacket, and the band of stained glass crystal embedded in the
bodice of a black tulle evening dress sparkled in baroque effect. Not to
worry - Mademoiselle’s dark color palette of black and beige ruled the
catwalk, and her camellias were strewn down the back of a cape. Add in
miniskirts paired with white leather 60s-style knee boots and you have
something for just about everyone.
Karl called the collection “Paris sur scène”, but what époque he was focusing
on was intentionally blurred. What was clear - these clothes were aimed at
the elegant woman of today, hurrying somewhere in style.