“They’re not ruffles, they’re waves,” Karl Lagerfeld clarified backstage before his Fendi show on Thursday. And they had something to do with Einstein and his theory of gravitational waves, proven just this month to great excitement within the scientific community. Some say the confirmation of the theory may make time travel a possibility — but I digress. He (Lagerfeld, not the other genius) hates to get too high-minded when talking clothes, anyway. Waves; ruffles. Potato; po-tah-to. The collection centered around rippled lengths of various luxurious materials. It was fabulous.
Lagerfeld used the ripple ruse as the basis for a collection that bubbled with countless ideas. He started subtly: Kendall Jenner in a heavy, dropped-waist coatdress with a thin, wavy-line hem border. This topped light blue over-the-knee boots, all scrunched and bunched, with wavy — what the heck, ruffled — feet. Then followed a treatise on inventive diversity, always with an underlying ease: blouse with deep V yoke tucked into long skirt; short dresses with full sleeves; long dresses, some with a waft of Seventies and one, big, leg-o-mutton sleeves; poet’s blouse over bloomers and high boots; T-shirt over kilt. Along the way, Lagerfeld added his wavy appendages to sleeves, yokes, collars, hems and, yes, boots and handbags in wonderfully indiscreet colorways. Yet he is a man of many methods. Sometimes the waves came in patterns — undulating stripes across T-shirts, dresses and furs, whether whole pieces or at the hems of spectacular coats. Case in point: a casual wonder of a trapeze cuddle-coat in light blue shearling bordered in black and white mink.
Apart from the waves, what held everything together was that casual attitude. At a moment when many brands at the pinnacle of fashion are grappling with how to keep luxury compelling and relevant, Lagerfeld showed a collection that — a pair of Cruella de Vil coats aside — balanced tony flamboyance with an unmistakably rich-girl street cred.