March 02, 2003 Milan
Lagerfeld began by cutting all his lengths short, concentrating on sculpted shapes to emphasize the body. His version of the season's ubiquitous down parka was a cross between a tiny formfitting ski jacket and a Renaissance doublet. With the addition of iridescent oil-slick leather, collars and cuffs done in sheared weasel, and zippers implanted in fuchsia satin, the generic turned super extraordinary.
Showstopping coats were fielded against a palette of petrol blue, purple, lavender and a slew of reflective metallics. Natalia Vodianova stepped out in ribbed silver leather that sprouted quivering tufts of white fox. Neat coats in gray Persian lamb came with laminated zones textured with embossing. Curly cascades of Mongolian lamb spilled out of a skeletal framework of cloth. One inside-out fur with a vast drooping collar was sewn from a single, enormous circular patchwork.
In all, the collection showed Lagerfeld's conviction that haute luxury needs to be pushed to the limit in order to stay compelling. That doesn’t necessarily mean over-the-top freakishness, either, which he proved with a lean, mean sable-lined chocolate crocodile coat, picked out in copper topstitching. It simply looked the epitome of sophisticated modernity.