It’s a new era at Karl Lagerfeld, and not for any obvious reasons like a change in season, or the late designer’s fondness for the new.
The biggest change of this spring collection, titled “Life 2.0,” was the heavy use of materials either sustainable or recycled. “With the amount of material that already exists in the world, it felt more appropriate to find ways to use those, instead of using virgin materials,” said design director Hun Kim.
That felt coherent with another feature of the season, the second collaboration with model and activist Amber Valletta, which spanned from new versions of the popular cactus-leather accessories to ready-to-wear looks tapping Valletta’s relaxed tailored off-duty look.
But new, in the house of Lagerfeld, means less putting the past on a scrap heap as giving a new reading to sleek silhouettes of finely tailored separates and sophisticated textures.
Among the evolutions that made this warm-weather wardrobe timely was the disappearance of the formal distinction between women and men, following the idea that pieces should be picked based solely on taste. After all, who could resist a lightweight parka that could unzip into a short jacket, a short suit in tonal jacquard or any of the many denim options?
Another was the extensive use of color, involving a palette taking its cues from nature’s most basic elements — earth, air, fire and water — paired with a dash of fuchsia and the occasional zebra print with a subtle “KL” worked into the design.
Reworks of the monogram, either going even further toward a trompe-l’oeil houndstooth effect or as a small signature hiding at the heart of geometric eyelet embroideries, felt familiar yet novel.
And that felt like the effect Kim was looking for, after he mentioned the label’s “bottomless, amazing archive. Some want to move on to the next thing, but for me, it’s being like a kid in a candy store. Every time I think I have something forward thinking, it’s already in there,” he said.