Karl Lagerfeld was on sparkling form after his couture show yesterday – one of his finest to date. He marvelled at the patience of the craftspeople working in the Chanel atelier – a certain printed and embroidered floral dress had apparently taken 2000 hours to make. ‘I don’t know how they do it,’ he said, ‘how they have the patience! How they can survive!’
‘Dressmaking is a job,’ he continued, ‘Of course it’s something that we can dream about – that’s the idea – but people have to make [the clothes]. There’s a down-to-earth part to every collection; you have to do the job.’
And somebody has to wear them. There were three shows held at the Grand Palais in Paris yesterday in order to accommodate all the press, celebrities and of course, clients. Judging by all the ladies wearing Chanel, the brand’s supremacy in this respect reigns supreme in the world of couture.
Lagerfeld designs what his customers want. ‘Of course, they are easy to wear,’ he said of his ethereal collection, ‘So light. Weightless,’ he said, ‘I hate clothes that are stiff or heavy, I’m very much against that; heavy couture is for the stage. There are many, I don’t name names, who use workers who make costumes and I can tell you, it shows.’
Chanel, he believes, is on another level to other couture houses. ‘It’s a real couture house with 200 workers. And when people like Pierre Berge [Yves Saint Laurent’s business partner] said that couture was dead? Err, I’m sorry to tell him that it survives very well, thank you, with a new clientele who buy!’ Lagerfeld paused. ‘In the past, rich women bought five dresses. These new women, in five minutes, they buy 30!’
‘It’s a new wealth,’ he continued. ‘Don’t ask me where the money is coming from – we don’t ask – but as long as they spend it everything is ok!’