LIZ JONES FASHION THERAPY.
Karl Lagerfeld had a bit of a fashion moment last week. His couture show was conducted in the enormous and freezing Grand Palais.
The setting was an intergalactic jet, with stars including Cameron Diaz, Diane Kruger and Vanessa Paradis, wearing a satin nightie, seated in Club Class (one wag joked he couldn’t find his sick bag).
The set was extravagant, but par for the course: in the past, we’ve been treated to a giant ice sculpture and a recreation of the boutique on Rue Cambon, along with a cobbled street.
The clothes felt very early Sixties and came in many shades of pale blue, with a neckline as wide as the models’ hips, which on second thoughts isn’t really saying that much.
The dresses were youthful, with a waist dropped so low, said the designer, that when the models put their hands in their pockets, ‘they look like boys whose jeans are slipping off’. A typical Lagerfeld comment, hot on the heels of his observation of the Royal Wedding that most of the guests had ‘fat thighs’.
Now, Coco Chanel herself was androgynous, with her fondness for mannish tailoring and wide pants — but at least she aped men not boys. Her purpose in life was to liberate women from their corsets.
The Lagerfeld dresses are so skimpy and unstructured that the body has to be perfect, which was never Coco Chanel’s intention.
The couture collection for spring/summer 2012 was, of course, beautiful, with the final parade of long gowns bound to be fought over for the Oscars. The bell sleeves might make ordinary women feel bulky, but then, at £30,000-plus for an evening gown, these clothes are not meant for us.
No, Karl Lagerfeld has other plans for the great unwashed. Last week, he launched KARL, his more affordable collection of ready-to-wear clothes. In Paris, it is sold from a series of salons in an hotel on the Left Bank.
For the launch party, he served caviar, foie gras and lobster, with every guest given an iPad, engraved with his logo and loaded with the commercial for the new brand.
The launch in London was a little more low-key — we were invited to stand and gawp at a video in freezing Covent Garden, drinking lattes with tiny cardboard Karl collars — but the hype was enormous.