Lagerfeld seemed to take a long relaxed exhale in this show. All of the tenets we've come to expect from Chanel were there for the most part but in a decidedly relaxed and unhurried way. The Chanel woman gets dressed for Spring but she does it in a supremely confident and unselfconscious way. Isn't that what style is meant to convey? A confident foot placed one ahead of the other with one's gaze set on a vanishing point..... That's what these clothes seem to be saying. She is beyond the fray of scrambling Fabulistas and off in a wider world participating in life, not trying to harness and direct it. The difference is subtle but worlds apart. Lagerfeld seems to be saying , "Get on with it before you waste the little time you've got."
The collection seemed integrated into the idea of everyday and high and low. Suits were varied in cut with and without embellishment to the tweeds that often were constructed of unexpected elements. What was consistent throughout was an ease and offhanded luxury. The idea of uptight was nowhere to be seen. Some chic jackets were paired with punctured jeans and chunky platforms. An interesting "boot" was a platform sandal with an attached leg of leather that climbed to the thigh. Not for everyone, but sexy. As low as skirts fell so did the waists rise. He has set a new height for empire lines that hover at the apex of the breast or just below it. This is not the easiest for fuller bosomed girls, making them look meaty, but in the best cases it created a look of nonchalance and innocence. Many of the dresses had a Heidi/Dirndl vibe with double layered skirts. These took me back to 1981 (yes, I know. I'm packing an AARP card in my "bill fold") when I saw my first ever fashion video of a Valentino collection at his boutique at Detroit's Renaissance Center while spending spring break from college with my friend Vicki Beekhuis in Grosse Point, Michigan. I was TRANSFIXED. The ladies running the boutique were so kind to replay the whole show 3 times. I could not get enough. I remember the music was Stanley Jordan with ALL the BIGGEST girls of the day: Dalma, Mounia, Iman, Tara Shannon, Kirat, Anna Bayle, and on and on. After that day I was sketching everything with a double layered dirndl skirt. (Vicki's father Dr. Jan Beekhuis was one of the preeminent plastic surgeons then and I foolishly said I'd love to see him work....one day. He took me up on my request and next thing I knew I was standing over his shoulder in scrubs as he ripped through 2 nose jobs, an eye job and a macro dermabrasion in about 2 hours max. Needless to say, I got way more than I bargained for, but I digress.) Well, Lagerfeld was working a similar look but with nothing more than air giving it loft. Chunky, slouchy knits played a big part in the line up with one girl looking very Lee Radziwill in that self assured, world traveller way.
Feathers were included in some tweed dresses for day and in an explosion that Carmen Kass wore. It was though he tossed them into the air and they landed in a cloud surrounding Carmen. She looked hot. Lace was part of the casting as well with a great dress on Stella Tenant that looked like geometry. Many of the girls were more womanly in shape which added to the "reality fashion" vibe of the collection. The icing one this cake was the inclusion of Ines de la Fressange the face of Chanel through the better part of the Eighties and one of the most elegant women of this age. What I appreciated most about this collection is that Lagerfeld didn't bother to preach. Why should he when the whole world is already converted?
Images: Courtesy of GettyImages and GoRunway.com