Chanel: Baby, it’s cold out there. And that’s just the way Baby likes it, at least if she shops Chanel.
While other designers have responded to fashion’s recent overload of faux gentility and retro embellishment with a turn toward sobriety, Karl Lagerfeld took a different tack in the delightful collection he showed on Friday morning. Want angst? Save for a mild wayward-schoolgirl moment in short pleated skirts, neckties and brazen boots scrunched the entire length of the leg, he showed not a bit. Minimalism? Try pilings of tweeds, crochet, bows, chains, crystal camellia-decorated mufflers, Ali caps and yes, the envy of everyone in Paris this week, leggings, worn with virtually every look that didn’t get a pair of over-the-knee boots. And amazingly, Karl kept it all ultra controlled.
Last fall he turned away abruptly from the style of gorgeous, dressed-up delicacy he had forged with the lemmings in hot pursuit, and embarked on a whole new course — sportier, heartier, banishing all traces of chi-chi, including the gently frilled pastels that so captivated fashion. He replaced them with thicker, gutsier tweeds while even pronouncing much of the line unisex, and if that claim was overstated to the point of delusion, so be it. The real news, that of a defrilled direction ahead, proved sage though, at the time, not entirely resolved.
Not so this time around, as Karl brought his more substantial attitude planted last fall into full flower. Once upon a time cold-weather called for cozy layers, right? As everybody knows, there’s nobody like Lagerfeld for making everything old new again — and making it sell like hotcakes, oops, make that gateaux. He started with hefty tweeds, now utterly inviting, sometimes going head-to-toe tonal — a pale gray suit with a full skirt and sleeves cut short over silken, extra-long shirt sleeves. At others he piled on the patterns — tweed, crochet, stripes, even Nordic riffs for sweaters and leggings. Either way, he worked mostly in a neutral palette, a flash of pink here or lavender there to avoid the rut of familiarity. He also showed charming knit dresses in black or white with pearl necklines, and remember his megahit tweed-trimmed trench? Here a stunning shearling got the tweed treatment.Lagerfeld punctuated the collection with a series of little black dresses, pleasant enough, though non-events. Or they would have been, had they not served as mere foils for an element of house iconography, the classic black quilted bag, always a surefire winner at the register. Just like this collection.
Alexander McQueen: Hitchcock homage aside, there was no mystery to Alexander McQueen’s fall collection: It was stellar. Even when he’s not at the top of his game, as happened last fall, it’s clear that McQueen’s talent is as sharp as the cut of his clothes. At his best — the dance marathon, spring’s chess game, this collection — he can bring his audience to a state of fashion vertigo, intoxicating and dizzying.
McQueen loves to do that within the context of a good tale. And every practiced storyteller knows the value of playing to a receptive audience. Because too many ice-cold venues elsewhere had turned the fashion crowd into a mob of scowling cranks (not unjustifiably) he ordered up — and paid for himself — hundreds of Scottish lamb’s wool blankets to chase the chill in his venue, a school gym. The blankets duly distributed, the yarn commenced with a parade of Tippi Hedrens (and a “Misfits” Marilyn or two), French twisted or properly fluffed, cat’s eye liner belying their prim aura.
It was entertaining, absolutely, but not to the point of diversion. Rather, McQueen scaled back the theatrics because the real story here was one of real clothes. Despite miniscule sales — and all the glorious showpieces that make his presentations so memorable — the widely held perception that McQueen does not make wearable, understandable clothes is just plain wrong. Like his Gucci Group colleague, Balenciaga’s Nicolas Ghesquière, he seemed determined to correct that impression this season with a wealth of overtly commercial, incredibly chic clothes.
And did he ever. Tailoring worthy of Janet Leigh — but also a fashion editor, money manager or the best-dressed mom in the car pool — came in perfect coats and suits, tweeds or men’s wear grays. Conversely, women who prefer a little fettering might choose curvy flower-strewn knits or Pocahontas fringe. And there were clothes as well for countless other types from grand dame to ingénue, from party girl to beatnik — and of course, for every designer’s grail, the red-carpet diva. It all made for a lineup of sensational fashion, the kind with the makings of a real commercial success.Louis Vuitton: One didn’t have to see the artily blackened walls of the greenhouse at André Citroën Parc to know that Marc Jacobs was in moody-broody mode — just look at his New York collection, which was, fashionably speaking, the talk of the town. But how to translate this new direction to Louis Vuitton?
“Somber feels right, but who’s the customer?” Jacobs quipped the day before his Paris show. “That person has been running around in candy colors and bows. She travels with logoed luggage. She’s not going to give that up for a life of austerity, so it’s about delivering a darker spirit in iguana.”
Consider it done, and beautifully so, in a manner atypically related to the New York collection, yet with a distinct point of departure. The Vuitton girl could be the Jacobs girl’s older, more sophisticated sister, her perspective — and wardrobe — influenced by extensive studies and post-graduate travels. History inspires such gloriously angst-y chic! This girl prefers curvy shapes to major volume, though she will amp up with big, romantic sleeves on a suit or even a party dress or vaguely Fifties coat. And though sober, she hardly likes things plain. Dresses and skirts came in intricate fabric combinations and layers; coats and suits with seams etched in gold. At times, Jacobs borrowed from the Wiener Werkstätte for decoration, Klimt-y prints and colors romanced the dominant black, while delicate yet powerful flourishes — black veiling over a print, or a cascade of black roses on a simple coat — evoked the dark side of a fairy tale.
And in typical Vuitton style, Jacobs kept it all oh-so-rich, with elaborate collars and even trimmings for the clothes crafted from semiprecious stones. Ditto the handbags. In yet another remarkable expansion of the house iconography, these came in materials from matelasse and a plastic-covered warp print to logo-engraved mink, done up with all kinds of elaboration — the jewels, passementerie, leather, fur and the aforementioned iguana. “Look at this one,” Jacobs said, indicating a dark-toned example. “It’s mohair covered in organza embroidered in jet and trimmed in mink.” A little chic brooding is fine. But it’s no reason to slum it.
Supermodel @helenachristensen teamed up with longtime friend and designer @camillastaerk on a joint @paredeyewear collaboration. The lineup features three styles and 11 offerings, all of which embody a vintage feel. Get all the details on how they celebrated the collab on WWD.com. #wwdaccessories #wwdeye (📷: @slovekinpics)
“It’s a hard industry to keep motivated, as well, so finding different subjects and people is what makes it worth it – when you’re like, oh, I’ve met great people, I feel like I’ve done something good, and I feel proud of having done this,” said French actress Stacy Martin on being grateful for the variety of roles she’s take on. Read @ktauer’s full interview with Martin on her her latest film “Godard Mon Amour.” #wwdeye (📷: @danieldorsa)
After showing in front of the Eiffel Tower for his last two women’s ready-to-wear collection, it looks like @anthonyvaccarello may be heading to the Big Apple. Sources say the designer will stage his next @ysl show in NYC on June 6. Get all the details on WWD.com. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @aitorrosasphoto)
EXCLUSIVE: Two and half months after John Targon, cofounder and codesigner of Baja East, was hired as creative director of the contemporary division at Marc Jacobs, he has left the company, WWD has learned. Marc Jacobs International, which is owned by LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, confirmed Targon’s departure in a statement: “John Targon is a talented designer and we appreciate the work he has done here. Ultimately working together did not make sense for the brand and we wish him the best.” Read the story by @jessiredale, link in bio. #wwdnews
@theluxurycollection is officially launching a collection, tapping Sofia Sanchez de Betak for the capsule. Over 30 styles will be featured in the Chufy x The Luxury Collection, debuting next month at Bergdorf Goodman, The Webster, FiveStory and more. De Betak, known as “@chufy,” drew inspiration for the collection from her trips to Japan in the past year #wwdfashion
@lhd, founder and CEO of @thewebster, has teamed up with @lebonmarcherivegauche for the European launch of her ready-to-wear line, LHD. The launch will come with an exclusive pop-up opening today that’s set to run through May 20. Located on the second floor, it carries her debut Miami-themed resort collection, launched in November as see-now-buy-now. #wwdfashion