TIve always loved autumn. This is a kind of Indian summer, with all the leaves. Its a beautiful mood. Karl Lagerfeld had conjured a forest into being at Chanel. It looked as if the fallen leaves of every park in Paris had been scooped up and brought in to carpet the Grand Palais against a photographic backdrop that stretched the forest to trompe loeil infinity. Where, we asked, was he thinking about? No forest in particular, he said, but then added, I was brought up in the country, on an estate which had 12 alles [of trees] going from the house.

The contemplation of nature

As a fashion show experience has been on Lagerfelds mind for the last two shows in this place. He planted a formal French rose arbor in this venue for Couture, and grandiosely threw up the cliffs and roaring waterfalls of the Gorges du Verdon for his last ready-to-wear show. And, in between, there was his terrific Mtiers dArt show in Hamburg, the German seaport of his birth.

" la recherche du temps perdu?" 

Well, it wasnt that in any literal sense. Still, as the lines of girls began treading purposefully through the moss-strewn glade, the first long, slim black coats struck a quintessentially Lagerfeldian note: the attenuated Edwardiana silhouette that has reflexively dashed off his pen for decades.

There were six of them in varying shades of Chanel chic. One was double-breasted and flecked with gold Lurex. Another, a doubled-up look of a collarless tweed over a leather liner (an on-target trend of the season). Then the last: two coats sprouting coq feathers, and then a full-on swathed-sleeved version that somehow evoked both early movie-star glamour and the 1980s.


Karl Lagerfeld in a nostalgic, romantic mood? There were vaguely 70s-esque dresses you could call thatbillowy sleeves, high necks, peasant-y leaf prints. Pretty. But Karl Lagerfeld isnt someone who designs in the rearview mirror. More than a generation ago, way before Kaia Gerber was born, Karl Lagerfeld was dressing supermodels in Chanel sequinned scuba-suit jackets and mega-size hip-hop CC-logo jewelry in the 90s. It is no surprise to find him tuning into the current puffer trend, then serving up several versions for the young, rich, and today. This offering included a couple of white nylon tweed-trimmed Chanel jackets. You can totally see Chanels customers wearing them, customers who turned up in force to photograph themselves before this show began.

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