By Karl Lagerfeld’s lights, the best kind of anniversary is one that goes unmarked. But after 50 years, the Fendi powers were having none of that. Next best option: an anniversary not dependent upon past laurels for its mojo. Lagerfeld didn’t rely on past glory; he didn’t even reference it. Instead, fashion’s most stalwart connoisseur of currency did something brand new — a Fendi couture collection. It was captivating.
Lagerfeld showed at the glorious Théâtre de Champs-Élysees, before an assemblage of LVMH royalty — Bernard Arnault and his wife Hélène; Delphine Arnault; Antoine Arnault, with Natalia Vodianova; Pietro Beccari; Sidney Toledano, and Michael Burke — and a packed house of fashion lovers seemingly unfazed by a minor fracas between antifur protesters and police. Much of the arriving crowd was oblivious, sipping Champagne in the lobby before settling into their theater seats.
The huge golden metal stage curtain lifted upon a set rendering of Giorgio de Chirico’s Piazza d’Italia, but that didn’t mean a direct fashion link. That’s because there was no single driving inspiration for this show other than the creation of sumptuous, inventive furs that exhibited all of the mastery of the Fendi ateliers. Rather, this was the Lagerfeld of an idea-a-minute, brimming with thoughts in every direction, thoughts realized as remarkable furs. The results amazed, a veritable trove of fur for every personality type imaginable and yet, for a singular type of woman. A very rich one.
Lagerfeld opened elegantly, a group of furs that, while hardly discreet (it’s not quite the right word for hooded head-to-toe silver sable), dripped with timeless chic. Just when you were thinking classicism would rule the hour, he turned racy (tight wave-patterned mink pants with a flamboyant boa), ladylike (princess coat in spotted bobcat) or artfully bold (coat in optic lines and swirl of black-and-white shaved mink). There were girls pretty in pink and white mink, a chichi gal working a short sable suit and an artful doyenne in a stunning cocoon of metallized swakara, vinyl and crystal. And there was a gorgeous avian creature in gold and white feathers. Like the collection, she soared.