Karl Lagerfeld isn’t the Kaiser for no reason: of the hundreds – yes, hundreds – of collections he has delivered so far, I can safely bet not a single one was ugly. Whatever he comes up with is stylish, relevant and intricately detailed. This perfection could easily be boring, except that often it’s anything but.
His previous couture show was a prime example of five-star fashion: stunningly beautiful, with a theme, a mood, and even a political message. His other thematic shows may have been more or less successful, but none could possibly be accused of blandness.
However, even Karl sometimes seems to run out of fresh ideas. In such instances, he puts together a neat collection of tweeds, neutral-coloured suits, LBDs and LBJs (little black jackets), displays it in an elaborate setting and says something about the old and the new. Browsing through 70 of these dependable looks might be tiring, but no one complains – partly because each of the outfits is flawless, and partly because complaining is not something fashion journalists normally do. And someone will always make a “the future looks bright” pun.
Chanel’s Fall 2013 couture show was definitely of the beautifully boring category. We got the usual mix of Chanel staples, with just enough twist to distinguish them from their previous seasons’ versions. This time, the variation came in the form of wide, low-slung belts and a touch of bling. The outfits were complete with curious, angular hats and thigh-high boots, and presented across the backdrop of a post-apocalyptic cityscape, projected in a derelict theatre interior constructed inside the Grand Palais.
More surprising looks appeared towards the end of the show: those dramatic tulle dresses, big peplums-cum-skirts and novel fabrics felt more fun and certainly more couture, yet still lacked the unforgettability factor. But there’s only so much human memory can take, so perhaps we should be glad that Karl gives it a break sometimes.
Fashion Rated: ★ ★ ★ ☆ ☆