Wednesday, January 23, 2008
At yesterday’s Chanel haute couture show in Paris, Karl Lagerfeld stayed true to form by questioning customs on the catwalk yet again. Against a blanche neige backdrop that could easily double for Tchaicovsky’s The Nutcracker, nimble Anna Pavlova look-alikes festooned in feathers and frills glided down the runway in Swan Lake-inspired ensembles and contrastingly humble flats, not unlike the ones I wear to work.
Although it is obvious flats are MTA-approved footwear, there is something undeniably chic about wearing unfussy shoes with a decidedly fussy frock. Hepburn, Birkin, and Seberg all proved that ages ago; yet why are we still surprised to see them at an haute couture catwalk half a century later? Are we really imprisoned by our own visions of the proverbial glass slipper? And what if Cinderella had worn Repettos to the ball? Well, she probably would not have forsaken her shoe and would have made those evil stepsisters green with envy as she danced the night away.
But what was the Kaiser’s motive behind pairing painstakingly ornate gowns with simple ballerinas ironically during a season where more is more and bigger is better? Perhaps he did not want to be upstaged by John Galliano yet again and simply threw in the serviette- although that is doubtful coming from the ultimate overachiever/designer/photographer/DJ/tastemaker (Need I go on?).
With the revival of bygone Chanel muse Devon Aoki to close the show, perhaps Mr. Lagerfeld simply craved the comfort of the familiar –and in depths of our year’s first cold front when the thought of high (or any) fashion is daunting, this sort of comfort is quite welcome.
Final Word: Although we applaud Mr. Lagerfeld for challenging fashion foundations, it remains to be seen if social swans shall trade their Louboutins for low loafers at their next uptown gala. After all, what is a fairy tale without the glass slipper?