2010 March 9

Runway Reviews: Chanel, Ungaro

Chanel, Fall 2010 Chanel, Fall 2010
Getty Images
View Gallery

(PARIS) Chanel
Does Karl Lagerfeld even care enough to be contrarian? In a season when even knitwear designers are showing gobs and gobs and gobs of fur, the big idea to come from Chanel's Fall 2010 collection was the faux furry stuff. Lagerfeld used the material to transform his whisper-thin models into life-sized polar bears via thick trousers and knee-high boots. The effect would have been hilarious, if there wasn't so much beauty up top. Juxtaposed against the faux fur's texture, the usual crop of tweed and leather jackets felt new again. There's a reason that they simply can't make enough of these toppers. On the knit front, Lagerfeld concocted a series of off-white sweater dresses with floating patches of sky blue--reflecting, but not exactly literally, the otherworldly setting. Leather socks were worn with pumps made of patent and PVC--which kept at least a few models' feet dry as they splashed through the centimeter of water on stage. But the furry boot packed the biggest punch. Is it Fall's answer to Spring's clogs? If anyone can do it, Karl can.

Luckily, Ungaro has secured the apres-Stella timeslot; the troops are already rallied. Because anyone who saw Lindsay Lohan at the Turkish Vogue party, or Dior show, or wandering around Colette this week already knew that the actress was not involved in Estrella Arch's Fall collection for Ungaro. Now that the media circus has dispersed, all eyes are on the clothes again, and before the store on Madison Avenue can reopen, something needs to change. Yes, there were brights and prints and satins and vests and cocktail blouses, but all in shapes one has seen quite frequently on high street. Some of the draped and pleated cocktail dresses were reminiscent of M. Ungaro in the eighties; and why not? Those were great-looking dresses. But times—and customer needs—have changed, and the new Ungaro, whatever that means, needs to identify itself, and fast.