Karl Lagerfeld nailed a condensed synthesis of at least two crosscurrents at Fendi: short volumes à la the sixties, and militarism with a touch of the medieval. If that sounds awfully complicated on paper, the show's abbreviated gray flannel coats, rounded at the shoulder and cinched with cummerbunds, made it seem almost simple. He pulled things off by styling the show with black tights and astrahkan boots with huge folded-over cuffs, accessories that neatly knitted together such apparently diverse pieces as a starship-trooper-uniform coat and a cape-shoulder, sculpted-waist mink jacket.

A fashion historian nonpareil, Lagerfeld took bubbles as a theme and connected the dots between renaissance puffed sleeves, Fortuny puffballs, poufed Poiret-esque lines, and Cardin-like ovoid cabans. Still, the main action at Fendi is in the furs and bags, and among the former, there were some great pieces. A fierce, shaggy fox with huge shoulders made a big statement, as did a nipped-waist honey-and-gray mink with exaggerated braided sleeves and a curvy foulard collar. A slim white reversed fur coat with vertical seams in black was simpler, but no less memorable.

The house's new black and gold-trimmed bucket bags, meanwhile, were inspired by the Romanesque architecture of Ravenna. Silvia Venturini Fendi also stamped a rendition of the Fendi palazzo in Rome onto the big rectangular belt buckles that were an unmissable part of this strong collection. Unfortunately, however, the show may be equally remembered for the events preceding it. Part of the photographers' stand collapsed, causing several injuries that required medical attention—a sobering reminder to all present of how frequently audiences at tightly packed presentations are put in the way of serious accidents waiting to happen.