Where most design houses treat PreFall as it should be, an off-season collection that does not hit the runway, and is far more saleable than the more dramatic pieces that grace a live show, some in the industry cannot help themselves but go over the top. if they have designed it, it should walk, and season, or off-season be damned. Some of them even try to make the off-season “happen.” (See those over at Louis Vuitton, who have for the last two years attempted to make “Resort Season” into “Cruise Season.” Honey, it’s like fetch: not happening.)
Then there’s Karl Lagerfeld, who never met a way to go over the top he didn’t like. Is it a season where most designers make 35-45 outfits? He’ll make 90+! You design for two lines? He’ll design for five! You don’t hold a runway show for this line? He’ll fly everyone and their plus ones to Rome, for an over the top life experience. It can feel utterly exhausting. Especially when one finds themselves staring at four times as many outfits as the next designer for the season, and it is obvious that if there was someone, anyone on Lagerfeld’s staff able to say no to him, or lend an editing eye, the collection could easily be cut by half, and not walk so many boring repetitions. But it must be said that the fashion industry that covers him, and are given the chance to experience these shows, loves it.
One side effect of all the grandiose behavior is that when Lagerfeld rolls out nearly 90 looks for PreFall, it feels less like he’s trying to make PreFall “happen,” and more in line with his inability to curb his enthusiasm. Again, like his Spring and Fall shows, one might be forgiven for mistaking the clothes for an afterthought, what with the emphasis on the inspiration for the collection (Italian films.) In other shows, there might be a small hand out explaining what parts of Italian film inspired him. Here, not only was the audience treated to an open-air film premiere, but the set was a reconstruction of Paris (in black&white, natch.) All this held at Cinecittà studios, where everything from La Dolce Vita and Fellini Satyricon to HBO’s Rome was shot. But the 87 or so looks that wandered through after all of that were at least blessedly tied into the theme, with styling that felt like it came directly out of Italy’s film noir traditions.
The highlights of the collection are below.