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What matters is how Lagerfeld reinvents the house signatures to pique the fantasies ..


It was pure Chanel, crystallized to a point of perfection only witnessed in haute couture. From the precise, short, molded-waist dresses to the miniscule jackets to the frosted-sugar evening looks, every piece was modern, but also spun entirely from the house's heritage. The cumulative effect was so young and pretty that, by the end, some audience members were literally tearing up at the sight of Lily Cole in a white trapeze dress that melted into an airy train floating and shimmering several feet behind her.


That allusion and others demonstrate just how deftly Lagerfeld—Chanel historian par excellence—marshals his knowledge.

He sprinkles the camellias, the satin bows, the organdy collars, and the bound edges so lightly that they become playful thrills—not belabored underscorings of theme or "brand identity." His tulle petticoated dance dresses and slithery satin sheaths all tie back to lesser-known things Chanel did in the twenties and thirties—but we're not really meant to care. What matters is how Lagerfeld reinvents the house signatures to pique the fantasies of today's young woman—and that he does just beautifully.


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