A hard-to-miss presence at the Paris ready-to-wear week, Karl Lagerfeld hit the headlines with his hemlines, presenting his new pret-a-porter collection. But is he too much of a good thing?
Lagerfeld: he's lovin' it
Lagerfeld may be fashion's busiest man. After his brief flirtation with the world of mass market retail -- climaxing with his phenomenally successful limited-edition line for Swedish chain Hennes & Mauritz last November -- the German designer has returned to the catwalk for the next leg of his bid for expansion.
One of the most anticipated collections of the season, his Lagerfeld Gallery show on Wednesday was his second of three in the space of two weeks. He unveiled his work for Fendi in Milan last week and will hit the catwalk again for Chanel on Friday.
"What I like is to be everywhere," he told Reuters. "I like to have this kind of ubiquity in every sense of the word."
Cash for cachet
As one of the first designers to spark the growing "masstige" trend -- the popularity of mass products with designer prestige -- Lagerfeld single-handedly showed the notoriously haughty world of haute couture that slumming it certainly doesn't sully reputations.
In Paris this week, the German designer made a strong statement with his autumn-winter 2005-06 line, his first since US fashion giant Tommy Hilfiger bought the label in December.
The US company has high hopes for Lagerfeld Gallery. "We want to run it as a very upscale couture business," CEO David Dyer told Reuters. "We're looking to be a multi-brand, multi-channel company. I don't think you can get any better than Karl Lagerfeld, so we think we started with the crown jewels."
Proving once again that his business sense is as impeccable as his taste, Lagerfeld benefits from Hilfiger's financial clout and position in the key US market, while in return, the outfit gets to bask in the reflected glory of Lagerfeld's quintessentially European chic.
An eye for the iconic
As Prince's "U Got The Look" blared from the sound system, Lagerfeld's models strutted out in loads of fur, from sumptuous black astrakhan coats to short mink-covered boots to lush high collars that obscured the face.
With his customary eye for the iconic, the designer even offered electronic message belts covered in fur that contained a tiny digital screen with the words "Lagerfeld Gallery" continuously scrolling by in red. Floppy fur hats added a finishing touch.
Lagerfeld sent out his signature slim-leg trousers and crisp white shirts, but the collection took on a generally softer silhouette, with laid-back denim skirts and sheer chiffon dresses with flower detailing.
Dusty rose and peacock blue added a more feminine allure to the standard black and white, especially for evening. A full-length pleated goddess gown with a twisted halter neckline in chocolate silk fluttered to the floor.
The audience loved it. But as Karl Lagerfeld becomes more and more high-profile, he might find his fans preferred him when he played a little harder to get.