December 11, 2013 New York
A giant ice storm made getting to the city more than a little difficult, but by 6:30 this evening, nine hundred guests had poured into Dallas' Fair Park, home of the 1936 Texas Centennial Exposition and a National Historic Landmark. Inside, they were greeted by a built-to-fit drive-in movie theater complete with seventy-four restored vintage automobiles parked in front of four giant screens. This reporter watched Lagerfeld's short film from the front seat of a red convertible Chevrolet Chevelle. The Return stars Geraldine Chaplin as a wary yet still brazen Coco on the eve of her 1954 show, the one that was celebrated by the Americans and panned by the French—"you can hardly call that couture," says Arielle Dombasle in the movie. "I don't think her name will last forever."
The U.S. of A. got that one right. There are but a few global brands that can spend on the scale that Chanel does. (Team KL built a saloon for the after-party, installing a mechanical bull and the British electronic music band Hot Chip.) No other fashion house can lay claim to the various ateliers that Chanel has acquired in recent years. With Dakota Fanning, Lily Collins, and Kristen Stewart, who will star in the ad campaign for this collection, in the stands, Lagerfeld showcased the company's Métiers d'Art to vivid effect with clothes that trumpeted the American West—Cowboys and Indians clichés and all. Historically, Ralph Lauren has owned this fashion territory. Lagerfeld seized upon it with gusto but also with characteristic deftness.
"It's a reinvention of something I don't really know, but that I like to play with," he said. The classic Chanel suit has become a bit boxier, the skirt longer and fuller, and it's worn with boots. For the Lone Star State: a cocktail dress and matching jacket embroidered with thousands of red and silver stars. Houndstooth coats with fur sleeves the size of, well, Texas. Blanket skirts and high-necked prairie blouses. And miles and miles of fringe, accenting everything from a knit poncho and skirt set to a silky dress Jerry Hall might've worn to Studio 54 to a swaggeringly gorgeous navy cape in suede and leather.
Erin Wasson, a native Texan, carried bottles of Chanel No. 5 in her holsters. Bang, bang, Karl did it again.