Listening to Karl Lagerfeld speak sometimes, you will hear things that are stupefyingly Profound or Dazzlingly Witty. Oft though, King Karl will espouse on matters that pertain, uniquely and singularly to him and his life alone. As he is fond of saying, "I Am Not A Tourist! I only Travel for Work" so is it that this Bon Mot came up during his Smashing and Invigoratingly Fresh and Super Youthful 2016 Cruise show. For years now (since he first took his Chanel Caravan on the road back in 2006 to Grand Central Terminal in good old NYC) Lagerfeld has traveled to such Far-Flung locales as Los Angeles (in that case, he had TWO huge jets Bedecked and Tricked out in Chanel Logos and beige interiors and employed an Airplane hangar to show the collection) then to Miami, Venice, (on The Lido, no less), Saint-Tropez, Cap d'Antibes, the Jardins de Versailles, Singapore, Dubai, and Now, Seoul!
Taking a step back before we get into the meat of the matter, Karl elevated the Cruise collection to "Event" Status long, LONG Before anyone else thought of it! I can remember Fascinating shows in Paris shown on a Yacht, on tourist buses, in a Restaurant that I cannot remember the name of, and elsewhere. For Karl, every moment is a moment to make an impact with something new and exotic to whet the appetites of the consumer and the Corporate officers of the house he is employed at! No expense is dare to be cared about, for they know in the end, Karl's imagination is Priceless and the dividends and rewards reaped from it have kept the house Billion-Dollar rich for Many a Moon! Karl is not a "Lookbook" or "By Appointment" kind of designer when it comes to Chanel. Even at Fendi he's more low-key, but Chanel... No! It's Phantasmagoria in it's purest, giddiest, most hedonistic state! Other designers must truly weep at the Formidable power and intrepidity of Lagerfeld's mind!
So, Off to Seoul, for no other reason than, A. The Chanel Powers that be (the Wertheimers and the Kopelmans) want IN on the Asian Market that is a veritable BANQUET of Moolah that could be rolling into the already Foie Gras like Fattened coffers of the business. B. Lagerfeld has expressed that he has always had a feeling for Korea and it's culture and history, but as he has said, he's a Traveler of the Mind, he only jetes off to some place for Business. Otherwise, it's one of his homes for work or relaxation (which according to Karl, he doesn't need to do that that much either! He rarely vacations!) For the Maestro, Everything is better in the mind (well, in HIS mind I would not harbour one single iota of doubt as to that being the case!)
Now, We are in Seoul! So what does Unkle Karl give us? A Riotous, Candy Coloured, K-Pop Electric, Sugar Rainbow Skittles Bright Smorgasbord of Titanic proportions (95 Exits) that touched on All the requisite notes of the Fashion Symphony that it was, but played with the hand of a Gifted Maestro and an Orchestra of the finest Caliber to hit all those notes with the most possible sweetness and beauty! I have said it before, and it bears repeating, There was simply too much to be had to properly extol all the virtues it possessed! There were Eye-Spinning, Graphic "Pojagi" prints to open that were Masterfully interwoven with hidden Camellias and CC's, these patchwork prints are traditionally done with Silk as wrapping for gifts and usually done by Hand! Here, it was Diabolically printed and then cut and pieced and looked SO new for the house that it almost surpassed credulity that this was Chanel!
From there on, Tweeds, Jeans, Lesage Embroideries, The Hanbok (the Korean traditional dress and the country's form of the Kimono) done in this time, Actual Patchwork, Organza, Sequin Patchwork, Sequin Stripes, Just a Jumble of things that all coalesced as an identifiable whole, even with all the variety and profusion! A couple numbers are well worth remarking, a Pair of Gowns, One in angled Stripes done in Sequins with a Flowing overgown in Ultramarine Blue and it's fraternal twin near the end of the show, in Black done with little White flowers that evoked a form of Decoration on traditional Korean jewel boxes, Both looked as if they could have fallen from one of King Karl's Couture collections and were Visually Riveting! The show closed with a Section of such elaborate technique, that only the Petit Mains of 31, Rue Cambon could even dream of creating something of this nature in a Pret-a-Porter setting. A series of Gorgeous "Hanbok" Inspired evening ensembles, that ended in a Drift of Patchwork "Pojagi" Blush Pink Organza that seemed lifted from another time and place but could only be of THIS time and place, and as the case with Karl, This MOMENT! For as we already are aware, once this moment was done, Lagerfeld's brain had already moved on to the next! Ephemerality is his stock and trade and once the moment has come and gone, No matter how Memorable and Lovely and Exalting to the spirit it may be... There are new moments to be had! Dawdling in the past is Strictly Interdit... (Or in KL's Native tongue, Verboten!) Such is the way of Wise Unkle Karl... Either get in the Fast Lane and speed on... Or be left behind! The Choice is clearly yours, because for Karl... If you had to stop and consider the option...
You've already missed the boat!