Chanel, 2001

If the house of Saint Laurent is a French cathedral, not to be messed with lightly, then Chanel today seemed to be the convent school — and all the kids were out to play. The tolling bell that opened the show, on a long runway that had the models coming and going from two entrances, was the cue that Karl Lagerfeld was signaling a new day. Whom does the bell toll for? Any fashion house that doesn’t recognize that its customers aren’t sitting around in Armonk waiting for news of another bouclé suit with pearls. They are getting younger, and they need new forms of stimulation.

And that’s what Mr. Lagerfeld is here for, though at first you couldn’t make sense of anything. The clothes came out in such a nutty rush — now a classy pink-checked suit with a white fur muff sporting the Chanel logo, now a cute Nordic snow-crystal knit minidress. The models kept flying past, this way and that. It was great exercise for the neck. And for accessories, there were plush boots, rhinestone pistol chokers and plastic reindeer pins. Reindeer pins?

Then the dawn began to gong, as Mr. Lagerfeld sent out fitted jackets with ruffled minis, a look that not only recalled the early 1980’s but also the way young women dress today. And when he ended the show with the models kitted out in mountaineering and snowboarding gear, including a young guy moseying along in his own slacker-style sleeping bag, you got the picture. ‘Tis a new day.

from TOM FORD GETS IN STEP AT SAINT LAURENT, AND IT’S THE HABANERA by CATHY HOYRN, NYT, 2001

 

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