The show began, as usual, with boy-for-girl tailoring: Double- and single-breasted pinstripe jackets were worn over pleated miniskirts and flat patent oxfords; starchy white collars, not unlike the designer's own, peeked out from the jackets' lapels, this time with big bows replacing skinny ties. Austerity is too strong a word, but the tricky cuts and heavy-handed styling sometimes associated with the collection were absent. In their place were smartly wearable pieces like a belted vest dress that hit mid-calf; a narrow, fitted sheath with raised leather ribbing; and a jacket with a rounded eighties-ish shoulder and a built-in corset.
The Teutonic precision of Lagerfeld's tailoring was softened considerably come evening. Fur boleros embroidered with sequins, bugle beads, or larger square paillettes strode out on models with their arms folded haughtily across their chests. While it hardly qualified as vamping, it was a welcome change of pace to see the girls in something other than automaton mode. The best dress, a calf-grazing draped black number, came with crystals on the shoulders and a row of tiny buttons inching up one side of the back. Lagerfeld has a formula for his signature line, yes. But this season, his black, white, navy, and sparkle mix was more winning than most.