Karl Lagerfeld's latest collection for Fendi was difficult to characterise - or maybe that should be compartmentalise, in the neat, trend-hungry way so many journalists wish to section-off fashion shows and apportion them their just and proper references. Sixties, seventies, baroque, minimal - all or nothing, black or white. The one thing the Fendi collection wasn't was black or white - either in ideas or in colour.
Colour, indeed, was a big story, with Lagerfeld mixing shades and slinging garments over block-coloured granny-ish tights with contrasting cylindrical-heel Mary-Janes. The rest of the outfits juxtaposed texture and shade: a fur coat in black and camel thrown over a grey skirt with seams picked out in iridescent green leather, for example, or a hefty fox wrap swathing a checked wool sweater and skirt in panels of nubby tweed and ribbed knit. However, the colours more jarred than clashed, something slightly off about the combinations that, rather than setting your teeth on edge, just set you thinking. Mainly about how you wished more women could dress like this.
Generally, the silhouettes stood slightly away from the body - or at least, weren't curve-grippingly body-con. Then again, they weren't architectonic Balenciaga creations either. They were easy, and indeed that's how this whole collection felt, easy - not to make, but certainly to wear. It also felt rich, something women certainly have to be to wear Fendi. There was a patina of wealth over everything, without it seeming glossy or over-preened in the slightest. Maybe that comes from looking at the collection with a British eye, where the knee-length pencil skirts, jabot-trimmed blouses and hardy, hard-wearing tweeds speak of an upper-class, upper-crust Englishness one used to call Sloane. These, however, were much more attractive - and even the chunky, elasticated-hem tweed jogging-bottoms worn with a khaki cashmere sweater and fur gilet managed to look hyper-expensive. Even geography teachers win the lottery, after all, and there's their perfect high-fashion outfit. This collection didn't set the fashion world alight - one didn't feel a seismic move as the outfits strode down the catwalk. But maybe that's all bumph anyway. These looked like clothes women should actually wear, and would look wonderful doing so. Job done Monsieur Lagerfeld.