Consider the case of Karl. Multiple times a year – for decades – Karl Lagerfeld creates fashion. Although at this stage, one would imagine that he would leave the bulk of design duties to others, Lagerfeld is intensely involved in every aspect of his presentation (including set design, styling, and even photography). One might also conclude that there is an end to his well of creativity, but his well has proven (thus far) to be bottomless.
For Chanel Fall 2014 Couture, he still managed to startle and titillate – not by reinventing a new couture technique, or making some sort of whimsical new fabric, or by exacting a new silhouette – but by reversing the very core of Couture itself. Or, in Karl’s words, “Haute couture without the couture.” To advance a new philosophical notion on top of a fantastically high-brow presentation is the stuff of true genius.
His working material? Concrete. Concrete cut into tiny, lightweight, magical tiles and peppered along smart tweed suits, molded wool jackets and technicolor separates. He took something base and elevated it to the level haute couture, which is the true essence of creation. His silhouettes were built with architect-like precision, molded instead of seamed and more flattering than you would ever imagine stiff tweed could be. Decorated with crystal paillettes, fringe, and feathers, the first half of Chanel’s Fall 2014 Couture collection was as rich and exquisite as many designers’ closing halves.
About midway through the show, Lagerfeld sent a molten gray down the runway that was comprised of a pewter fabric over sprawling lace. It signaled the beginning of an earthier stretch of clothes that shimmered like subterranean layers of metal, clay and shale. He shifts again to frothy pastels, impeccably embroidered czarina frocks and uber-luxe peasant dresses in velvet, crystal, and brocade. One can’t even fathom the amount of time that went into making Look 50, a glittering, fully-sequined gown that shimmered like liquid silver. A series of shapely and exquisite white dresses closed the show, a tribute perhaps to the traditional wedding dress closer (resembling nothing like any wedding dress you’ve seen before). Lagerfeld is capable of stretching so far every season that we firmly believe his alien-like talents should be preserved and studied for the future wellbeing of fashionkind.
Photos: Courtesy of GoRunway