by Alexander Fury .


Kaiser Karl is known as a veritable pundit of fashion's zeitgeist - whatever the flavour of the moment is, he's guaranteed to catch it, give it a Lagerfeld spin, and make it his own. The sci-fi femininity gripping much of the collections for spring is what Lagerfeld latched onto this season, which is of course territory his own sartorial stalwarts of stark monochrome suiting, bejewelled semi-armourial rings and android-like sunglasses seague into perfectly. This season, however, Lagerfeld did not offer clones of himself - not even a single Kaiserin Karl populated his catwalk. Instead, we had ruffles, flounces and patent-cinched waists reminiscent of Lagerfeld's dearly departed eighties counterparts Thierry Mugler and Claude Montana (yes, again). Gathered peplums at the hip were matched with stiff protective cuffs over the ankles and slightly aggressive lace aplique like filigree armour snaking its way around arms and necks. It was impressively hard and rigorous, but it felt like Karl was on autopilot: these eighties references have been rehashed on so many other runways, it was a little disheartening to see them echoed by a designer who had helped to create them. The softening of the warrior woman silhouettes with draped tulle seemed interesting, but was a brief interlude in an otherwise repetetive showing. When the show ended with cartridge-pleat gowns highly reminiscent of Karl's last Chanel couture, we were left in the dark wondering if this was really all a master like Lagerfeld had to say under his own name.