By giving new life to an Alpine style, Karl Lagerfeld carries forward the legacy of house namesake Gabrielle Chanel in the Pre-Fall 2015 collection, where she found the inspiration for one of her most enduring designs in a contrast-trim, four-pocket jacket worn by the lift operator of Salzburg’s exclusive Mittersill hotel. Its then proprietor, Baron Hubert von Pantz, was Chanel’s lover in the Thirties, and her return to the establishment two decades later was extremely fortuitous.
“In the Fifties, she came back here, that’s how she saw this jacket and that’s in fact how the Chanel jacket was born,” Lagerfeld explained on Monday as he put the finishing touches on the collection. “You look at Chanel in the Twenties and Thirties and there was nothing like this.”
Lagerfeld paraded fetching new versions of the Chanel jacket — and a blizzard of frothy sweaters and blouses — during three runway shows at the Rococo palace Schloss Leopoldskron.
Lagerfeld’s show helped ignite the Pre-Fall season with a hyper-embellished take on conservative chic: crystal flowers sparkling on a prim, ivory cardigan in boiled wool; edelweiss embroidered onto suede leggings, and ribbons transformed into grand, ruffled sleeves on a dramatic coat made of feathers, a nod to falconry practiced by Austrian aristocrats of yore.There were winks to the Austro-Hungarian empire, too, Lagerfeld noted, when extra trimmings of lace, ruffles and ribbons were à la mode. “I like the spirit,” the designer said. “I don’t want to do anything folkloric. This is more of a fantasy. It has to be modern, it has to be right for today, the proportions, everything.”
The show opened with a series of flaring, capelike jackets with gilded braid or velvet trims. Lagerfeld applied similar cape effects to turtleneck sweaters and tiered party dresses, along with dramatic full-blown capes pavéd in exotic feathers.
Lagerfeld’s ode to Mitteleuropa swung between homespun — needlepoint flowers right off the embroidery hoop plunked where Chanel’s braided pockets usually sit — to sleeker fare, such as handsome flannel trousers with braided stripes and enveloping shearlings speckled with gold or silver.
The eveningwear was exceptional, with butterflies and feathers alighting on pale blue chiffon, and puffed bishop sleeves adding a romantic touch to austere black satin dresses with deflated dirndl volumes.