Saturday, November 20, 2004

Let's talk about fashion

For those of us who are interested in fashion, this has been a fairly intriguing week. I am talking, of course, about the debut of Karl Lagerfeld's line for H&M.

I know H&M is not in Austin, or even anywhere past the Northeast in the US, so you may not be in on the KL for H&M hubbub. I discovered H&M many years ago when I was in Germany travelling. I thought I would lose my mind, so much cool stuff at such great prices...and in good fabrics too! Imagine cheap, chic, fashionable clothes, scads of them, with a turnover so fast that if you don't buy it when you see it, well, you are SOL but good. Last week I bought a fabulous red velvet suit, the jacket fits like a dream, the pants are long and leggy, and it was less than $100 for the two pieces with a skirt. And believe me when I say that you would not be able to tell the price of it when you see it. It's positively posh. H&M RULES!

Anyhow, Karl Lagerfeld (designer for Chanel) has created an abbreviated line for H&M. The prices for these simple yet well made pieces run from $20 to $150. The fashion press has gone wild. Fashionistas are in a frenzy. The collection is a smash hit. I went and saw it and here's the scoop.

It's, um, ok.

I was in downtown Oslo yesterday and had a chance to try on the majority of it. And there did seem to be plenty of it,though some pieces had sold out. No lines out the door or fist fights, as some of the fashion press has reported. In fact, it was kind of....quiet.

Lagerfeld has definitely designed everything to fit his vision of the long skinny legged urban creature, but did it generously so that it fits real folks. (To whit: I got an ass like J Lo and I fit into his very narrow pegged jeans quite well. Snug but not too big in the waist or anything like that. Great for tucking into boots and looking 8 feet tall.) However, if you don't look good in long skinny jeans (as I don't) or in long narrow sweaters or long narrow jackets, well this is not the collection for you. Mr. Lagerfeld made this collection to fit...himself. His new improved, scrawnier than one of the Olsen sisters, self.

There were a few good things. There was a fairly kick-ass sequinned jacket, like a tuxedo jacket but shiny and very rock and roll. THAT is worth thinking about getting.

There was an "SJP" dress, a black chiffon and silk peau de soir number, very cute with a pleated skirt and just enough poof to make it fun, but it made me and my friend look a bit thick in the waist. (The belt was not adjustable and I have a freakishly small waist for my size, so it is a common problem for me.) With a better belt it might be really nice. Unfortunately, very delicate fabrics tend not to survive too well in the crush of a populist store like H&M, so many of those dresses were missing the top neck button that sort of held the whole thing up. Still, it is a cute dress.

Basically everything was very sharply tailored, minimal and a little, well, boring and cold. I thought the jackets and the sweaters were a little too long. They felt very 80's. (Iknow 80's retro is cool. *shiver*) I didn't like the idea of dressing up to look like Karl Lagerfeld, which is what this collection basically was (except the dresses). It felt like one big designer ego boost "let's dress up like Karl" homage. I don't wear uniforms, and I especially don't wear OTHER people's uniforms, and it felt very costumey to me.

I wanted to go crazy over the stuff and buy tons of it, and ended up buying nothing. I might go back for the skinny jeans (I have so many boot cuts already, and even though these were not perfect for my body type, they would suit for boot-tucking-in and heavy sweater wearing in the long cold Norwegian winter that just appeared this weekend) and that sequinned jacket. The rest, well, if it goes on sale, we'll see!

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