HEDI’S SLIM MAN: KARL
Byline: Miles Socha
PARIS — Hedi Slimane showed his second collection for Dior Homme here Monday, but another fashion show took place as guests were taking their seats.
That’s because Karl Lagerfeld, who has famously shed more than 60 pounds since last November, showed his dramatic new look on the sidelines.
The picture of sleek, modern chic, he sported a black, made-to-measure silk radzimir Dior Homme suit with a white wingtip-collar shirt. He had his final fitting for the outfit with Slimane late last week — and they had to nip the pants a touch to hug his 30-inch waist better.
Flash, flash. The paparazzi documented the change: Men’s fashion, as endorsed by the Kaiser himself, is heading toward the stick-to-the-ribs tailoring and architectural minimalism championed by Slimane.
“I think Hedi is capturing the spirit of the moment,” Lagerfeld said after the show, which ended with a parade of skinny, shirtless youths in drawstring-waisted pants. “I was tired of wearing those oversized Japanese clothes. I saw that fashion was becoming edgier, sharper.”
Indeed, Lagerfeld’s metamorphosis, the result of sheer willpower and a complicated low-fat diet, was not because of high blood pressure or a cholesterol problem. No way. “It was all about the clothes,” he said emphatically. “I do collections, but I like clothes, too. And I was tired of myself. I wanted a different look. Fashion is about change.”
For his part, Slimane said it’s “fantastic” that Lagerfeld has embraced the Dior Homme esthetic. Bernard Arnault, chairman of Dior and LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton, also sported a suit from the Dior Homme atelier at the show.
Never mind that Eric Van Nordstrand, the face of Dior Homme, just turned 18, or that some of the models in the show Tuesday haven’t started shaving. Slimane said his look is about attitude, not age.
“It’s about giving a certain posture and a certain silhouette to every man,” he explained. “It’s really the principle of military tailoring. You have different people with different shapes, but you give them the same comportment. It’s more about a certain state of mind than about being a 20-year-old boy.”
Lagerfeld, 62, was introduced to Slimane by his friend, Stephen Gan, creative director of Visionaire magazine. It was Gan who enlisted Lagerfeld to shoot the backstage scene at Slimane’s debut Dior show last January.
And on Monday, he suggested Lagerfeld ditch the necktie to make his outfit less formal and more modern. It was good advice: Comme des Garcons designer Rei Kawakubo and Julien Macdonald came to the show in shirts, while Jeremy Scott wore a T-shirt.
Lagerfeld said he placed a sizeable order at Dior Homme, enough to fill closets in Paris, Monaco and Biarritz. But he’s branching out with other modernist designers, too. When he was in New York for the Council of Fashion Designers of America Awards last month, he bought two white cotton Calvin Klein suits that he’s quite crazy about. And he said he’s sure Tom Ford at Yves Saint Laurent may have things that would please him.
“I’m not a men’s wear designer,” he said. “I like the idea, but I like to buy from other people.”
So long as they’re not promoting a trend toward layering.
“I had enough trouble getting rid of the layers,” Lagerfeld said.