As decisive as he was, Karl Lagerfeld rarely outright rejected design proposals, figuring a bad idea today could be a decent one a few years down the road. The brand’s fall collection reimagines many of his designs from the Nineties, and they look terrific now: power suits in pinstripes and strong-shouldered jackets with asymmetrical lapels; a bomber jacket with romantic sleeves that suddenly tighten, or a soigné cocktail dress in a graphic cocktail of satin and delicate lace.
The press notes cite a romp through France during Lagerfeld’s favorite period, the 18th century, plus England and Germany around the same time. But these geographies and eras were etched so gently — a corseted waist here, a velvet cape there — all that resonated was contemporary chic. Brocade tuxedos, a fit-and-flare leather dress and cool trenches — mostly in black — were on-brand and a big step up in sophistication, minus the vivid pink faux-fur hoodie.
Ditto for the leather goods, which are smart, varied and expensive-looking: the affordable luxury Karl always wanted for his namesake house, now growing at a brisk clip.
The brand still churns out cartoonish fare with Karl and Choupette depicted on T-shirts, socks, pouches and even umbrellas, but less of it, and these are just appetizers to entice people into its universe. Once inside, they can move on to a feast of solid, current and attractive fashions.