Mar 6, 2013

Chanel RTW Fall 2013

The living legend of Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel continues to grow, ever fascinating and in constant motion. We can’t keep up. We see it in the obvious global reach of the brand and in smaller, unexpected manifestations: in Loïc Prigent’s “Karl Lagerfeld se dessine,” currently running on the Arte station here, in which the designer tells his life story (or “parts of it,” he said during a preview) by doing on-the-spot illustrations at the filmmaker’s request; in the gaggle of Chanel-clad ladies — young, old, celebrity and merely rich — who on Tuesday morning exited the Meurice en route to the show like a tribe of transfixed pilgrims; in the most frenetic show entrance in Paris. And on the vast steps of the Grand Palais, there’s ample room for frenzy.

Coats and jackets were mostly loose and at times bulky, yet appealingly so, particularly A-shapes that had both structure and swing over skirts that followed a similar line. Dropped-torso dresses combined fabrics in horizontal blocks of three; long coats were cut away in front. As for those textures, Lagerfeld favored unapologetically winter-weight fabrics. These were always substantial and sometimes conversational — such as a remarkable black-and-white tweed covered completely in woolly 3-D flowers.

Yet there was nothing gentle about this single winter garden, or anything else in Lagerfeld’s lineup. These clothes worked the sturdy side of allure, and only a handful of evening pieces interrupted their face-the-elements bravado. Lagerfeld even gave his girls an aggressive edge with hardware-enhanced boots and gloves. Global domination is a tough pursuit. Karl wants his brigade armed and ready to flaunt Chanel’s mantle of chic.