When a few weeks ago, pictures surfaced of Karl Lagerfeld's collaboration with French mail-order catalogue 3 Suisses, observers were a bit confused: the Kaiser posed with items as mundane as washing machines but hadn't touched any of the clothes seen on Iris Strubegger in the campaign he shot for the brand.
Somehow, with King Karl's willingness to work together with mass retailers such as H&M and his prominence at the launch event in Paris last week, you would have expected him to have played a more dominant role in 3 Suisses' creative repositioning, which has been envisioned by its makers for the past seasons.
But as it turns out, Lagerfeld ceded that part to the next generation: thanks to Maria Luisa - the famous Parisian fashion buyer who was also responsible for Manish Arora's collaboration with 3 Suisses last fall - a daring selection of young, vanguard designers contributed haute pieces at hot prices for A/W10: there are leather spencer jackets, t-shirts, and organza skirts by London wild child Charles Anastase ($71 to $289), leather necklaces, cuffs, and bags by accessory designer Natalia Brilli ($42 to $218), silk dresses and knit coats by Hyères festival winner Christian Wijnants ($187 to $216), and a trapeze dress by enfant terrible Bernhard Willhelm ($129).
Maria Luisa even contributed one of her own designs, a snake print sweater ($100), which will go on sale together with her protégés' capsule ranges.
The 'repositioning' move follows similar projects by 3 Suisses competitor La Redoute, who also commissioned Wijnants previously as well as the equally edgy Gaspard Yurkievich, Sophia Kokosalaki and Tsumori Chisato.
3 Suisses is already available in all of Europe and some Asian and African countries with the launch date of the fall/winter collections is set for early July. Meanwhile, the US section of its website announces that it is ‘Coming Soon.'