Karl, Comme, Lanvin, Dior and More

Karl Lagerfeld: The constant wayfarer, Lagerfeld has left last season's strict futuristic approach behind. For fall, he was off in an entirely different direction that was more a sea than space odyssey, one that summoned...


Karl Lagerfeld: The constant wayfarer, Lagerfeld has left last season’s strict futuristic approach behind. For fall, he was off in an entirely different direction that was more a sea than space odyssey, one that summoned up an Eighties baroque attitude along the way. As always, Lagerfeld did his trim shirts, this time with a military bent, and smart but severe suits, some with tight rows of covered buttons, but the big message here was exaggerated sailor collars. They created a strong square shoulder, the “bridge shoulder,” as Lagerfeld called it, that provided a canvas for all things opulent, as in fur and baubled embroidery. Such swanky elements embellished bomber jackets, fur vests and the collars and waists of otherwise simple cocktail dresses. It worked well as an accent on sparkly tailored tweeds but turned tricky on… read more

Comme des Garcons: The collection Rei Kawakubo showed on Saturday was an engrossing, typically curious dream in which fragility and utility blurred into a complicated vision of beauty, right down to the toes— white chalk outlines on heavy black booties. She opened with three girls who looked like the prettiest anthropomorphic triangles in a Surrealist fairy-tale, done up in what might be called cosmetic colors —puffed-out tulle in barely there buff, their hair painted a feisty pink atop veiled faces. Then came the cape-like army fatigues and coverts, often jackets and triangular skirts, some with graphic outlines of traditional jacket shapes, others with giant tribal-like images of fantastical animals. And more counterpoint: big, comforting blankets in outsized checks and patterns as well as curvy knits that looked like Kawakubo’s twisted take on the sexy secretary… read more

Lanvin: Alber Elbaz continues to get it remarkably right. The Lanvin collection he presented on Friday was both on trend and beyond trend, his lineup consisted of stunningly elegant relations to the brash, big-shouldered, retro glamazons parading about elsewhere. His starting point, as always, was the here and now, and not the runway version of it. To drive home that point, he showed on what appeared to be just-rained-on black asphalt, located in a far-off venue. But there was nothing distant about the clothes. “This dress, they tell me it’s not a runway dress,” Elbaz said prior to his show, indicating a simple look and waving about at various staffers. “But it’s a woman dress, so I’ll show it.” For fall, he pulled back from spring’s often-vibrant mood, despite some quite dramatic draping that resulted from cutting primarily on the bias. Suits gathered into ample but soft peplums in front; an asymmetric ruffled cascade fell down the side of a dress. When he wanted to embellish further, it was with haughty fur stoles, fabrics streaked with midnight glitter and… read more

Dior: For fall, Galliano enveloped himself in a motif of Orientalism, a fascination shared by the house founder. Specifically, Galliano looked to the richness of 18th-century Persian miniatures, extracting their colors and patterns to wrap around the house standards, most noticeably, the New Look, re-created here as something approachable and modern, the exaggerated arch shoulder and megapeplum considerably relaxed. He paired his jackets with skirts that resembled gently deflated bubbles, some with banded hems. The result: tailored looks for women who want more pizzazz than they’ll find in common suiting, and less aggression than in much of the Forties-cum-Eighties options out there this season… read more

As always, check for full coverage on all the shows

Photos: Comme des Garcons, Dior, and Lanvin: Giovanni Giannoni. Karl Lagerfeld: Dominique Maitre