Wednesday, May 30, 2007
MILAN, February 19, 2007 – With a blast of Disco Inferno and a long stretch of animal-printed runway, Dolce e Gabbana set off in the direction of the Studio 54 seventies. It began with a series of chiffon leopard-spot dresses with full sleeves and high, scarf-tied necklines, intercut with variations on bow-tied, white-shirted tuxedo suits. This is established territory for their main line, and it lent a distinctly dressed-up focus to one of their familiar romps around the junior brand—happily, the effect was more a case of Jerry Hall posing on a banquette than momma coming home to break up a teenage house party.
Not that there weren't short shorts and minute gold Lurex numbers and incy baby dolls à la Biba to keep the little ones happy—or bicolored patent duffels so oversized a girl could probably smuggle a boyfriend upstairs in one. But overall, the sense of extending the brand was uppermost. Cute staples, like high-belted black coats and nonconfrontational flower-print dresses, strengthened the Mom-can-I-have-that appeal for Fall. And who knows? Maybe the high-waist metallic flares and some of the more covered-up gowns might tempt the woman who holds the purse strings to shell out for herself on a mother-daughter shopping spree.
PARIS, March 2, 2007 – There were an ice rink, banks of snow, and, up above, a suspended skyscape of tulle clouds, gently puffing vapor into the atmosphere under the glass dome of the Grand Palais. Welcome to Chanel, where Karl Lagerfeld picked up on the idea of cold-weather college-girl styling that's emerging as a Parisian subtheme. How can "random" and casual work for one of the great establishment names of the City of Light? Lagerfeld approached it by turning the house bouclé tweeds into colorful checks, punching them up with magenta and turquoise, and adding a load of bobbly crochet, striped sock hats, sequined rugby vests, stacks of plastic geometric cuffs, and shiny breastplate necklaces.
Since Coco Chanel co-opted Tyrolean felted jackets as one of the inspirations for her classic genre, there was a vague link between the past and Lagerfeld's references to, say, snowboarding and skiwear—like the puffer-sleeved tweed with a cowl hoodie and narrow fur skirt, shaved to look like corduroy. A sense of all this is going on in fashion at large, and it wasn't a bad device for loosening things up at a time when "ladylike" is feeling distinctly over. Still, though Lagerfeld proved yet again that he is a canny barometer of every change in the fashion atmosphere, he's eternally careful not to lose sight of the fact that Chanel is for a woman who essentially wants to feel put-together and dainty. Example: She might now want to wear one of Chanel's standard creamy blouses untucked, with a rugby-striped sequin vest over a pair of skinny pants, or make an impeccable black shift look futuristic with a flash of beige patent in the neckline. By evening, in any case, Lagerfeld had cleared the way for a plain view of little black dresses, now with draped shoulder lines, bows, and flyaway trails that looked light and lovely in movement. For the faithful, that was just enough youthfulness to keep the appeal of Chanel feeling perfectly current, even if, as a whole, this didn't quite come up to the level of one of Lagerfeld's blockbusters.
Instead of the multitudinous flocks of options he has sent out in the last few seasons, this single-file presentational march condensed everything that can be thoroughly Chanel, yet completely du jour. While he was at it, Lagerfeld also dashed off sporty striped T-shirt dresses, tulle-covered denim, Edie Sedgwick, metallic-scuba, and puffy Empire organza moments, but mostly it was all about those newly wantable accessories. Black leather quilted mini bags, smothered with biker-like metal logo badges, were the final ta-da. In other words, a hit.
– Sarah Mower
PARIS, October 6, 2006 – With perfect pitch, Karl Lagerfeld dashed off yet another virtuoso demonstration of how to play up and down the classic Chanel scale in tune with any season. It was up-tempo, light and girly, with a cute opening device: a bouncy parade of girls in standard-issue white cotton cabine coats swinging along, attracting all attention to stacks of gold cuffs, link bracelets, chain-and-pearl necklaces, and plastic-Lucite-and-glitter wedges and platforms.
The segue into the short, A-line, and fluttery was carried off, sans effort, via breezy white flared tops over little black skirts, with a trill on the abbreviated white tucked-front shirtdress, and a high-note from a gold-quilted chain bag. Then the clever bit: What on earth to do with the old, potentially heavy-wash-cloth Chanel tweeds in such a mood? Why, put them with black sequin short shorts—thus chiming with the leggy forties showgirl theme of the moment—and shoot sparkle through the borders of the bouclé.