PARIS — Karl Lagerfeld sure knows what he’s doing. While everybody else is trying to shock their way to success, Karl took the calm approach — relatively speaking. Sure, his Chanel soundtrack was full of odes to lesbian chic and masturbation, but the collection itself was low key and simple. Even his accessories were deliberately dowdy, with sensible shoes, nerdy eyeglasses and a babushka or two.
The clothes, however, sparkled. This was a master at work. On the one hand, Karl loosened the Chanel silhouette, opening with a series of bathrobe jackets, but on the other, he tightened it even further by putting the loose jackets over super-fitted, high-waisted sheaths. There followed an avalanche of shapely suits in tweeds, huge herringbones and confetti wools.
Karl also mixed tweed jackets and vests with cashmere knit dresses and teamed a drop-dead simple black satin shirt with gray flannel pants. Presumably, the tuxedo stripe reading “Chanel” down the side will be optional. But of course, scary though it may be, there are a lot of women who will wear that ticker-tape logo like a badge of honor.
Though before the show, Lagerfeld suggested the collection was inspired by “lipstick lesbians,” it seemed more influenced by a sassy bluestocking or a mythical Radcliffe professor with a sharp mind and a sexy body. She’s the kind of girl who can’t wait to kick off those comfortable shoes, pull off her thick black glasses, dab on a little red lipstick and slip into one of Karl’s tight black satin skirts with a lace top.
When she goes to buy her Chanel skirts, however, the naughty professor will probably have them shortened an inch or two, since even Karl seemed uncomfortable with his below-the-knee length. Paris is going the longer route, but so far it hasn’t been an easy journey.