It feels like only last week I was bemoaning fashion’s ever-increasing speed limit, even while falling victim to it myself (namely, hankering after winter in spring). Actually, it was a month ago – and, as if to illustrate my point, another season has begun in earnest in the interim, its images already splashed across the internet and more coming every day. The season is Resort, but you may know it as Cruise – I just wish everyone would get their facts straight and pick a name. Personally, I’m keen for “spring”, which is how the French house Céline pegs it, naming its four seasonal collections after the four seasons. It’s not rocket science.
I object to Resort and Cruise as names because they seem to have a Machiavellian aesthetic hold over fashion designers, who lose their senses (mainly common) when those words are uttered and decide to kit women out for their own private Busby Berkeley musical. I place much of the blame on the retro allusions of these monikers – who cruises today, after all, unless it’s at 35,000 feet? That’s the kind of cruising Karl Lagerfeld does at Chanel, and now Raf Simons at Dior.
They showed their Cru… their latest collections in Singapore and Monte Carlo respectively. Raf Simons wasn’t influenced by the aura of pampered exclusivity and privilege that impregnates the Monaco principality – part fracas, part champagne effervescence, and a third part pure Shirley Bassey. He designed modern clothes for modern living – luckily, ones that seemed to have the C-word only loosely attached, in the ship-shape simplicity of straight-line coats or trouser suits with a curve swelling the shoulder. Still not convinced by flimsy silk dresses made even flimsier by zips bifurcating the front, though. Smacks of beach cover-up.
Karl Lagerfeld has a glorious disregard for what everyone else is doing. He doesn’t care what everyone else is calling these seasons. Flicking through images of his Chanel show feels like zapping between different channels – or Chanels. Sky Sports cricketers in pads and sweaters, rap chains and denims, and filmy, languid lace like an especially stylish episode of The House of Eliott. It may have been Resort, but it was no holiday for Mr Lagerfeld’s imagination. Thank God for that.