Not Karl Lagerfeld’s First Time at the Rodeo

Fashion loves a theme, and thank goodness. Otherwise, Chanel’s yearly Métiers d’Art shows might get a little humdrum. But with Karl Lagerfeld’s strategically decided themes (last year’s was Scotland, where Coco Chanel loved to hunt, staged in a decrepit castle near Edinburgh), they feel fresh every time.

This year’s theme? Dallas! As in, the city in Texas, land of longhorns, bluebonnets, big skies and even bigger hair. Here, guns blazing, the couturier descended with his usual cavalcade of models, celebrities, and assorted Parisian decadents. Ranch and French dressing together at last, seasoned to suit all tastes. The first and only time Mademoiselle visited Dallas was in 1957, on a American trip that served as a thank you to the country that made her last comeback, in her 70s, possible. This story was explained in a Lagerfeld-helmed short film screened in a massive drive-in movie theater prior to the show.

What those busy petite mains from eight or so Chanel-owned ateliers must have been thinking as they handcrafted the lone-star embroidery, turquoise beads, leather fringe, and dyed peacock feathers that ended up in the shaggy bouclé skirts, chiffon prairie blouses, Navajo blanket-shawls, metal-tipped cowboy boots, and little hats that were part pillbox, part cowboy. And, this being Texas, even cowgirls got blue jeans and overalls that can go from a ride on a bull to a roll in the hay.

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