Coco Chanel once inferred that male designers create fashions for the woman they wish they were: it seems appropriate that her successor, Karl Lagerfeld, could never have that accusation levelled at him. Kaiser Karl created dresses for the woman who wish they were him - and there were enough women attired with Lagerfeld's trademark brand of Teutonic severity in the audience of his Autumn/Winter 2010 show to testify that many find that a very attractive prospect indeed.
If Lagerfeld is something of a fetish object for his fans, he chose to reflect that on the catwalk of his eponymous label. With red lipstick and whited-out faced, models came out trussed in rubber, latex and vinyl - encasing limbs, wrapping hair and trimming garments, respectively. The clothes themselves had a sci-fi sports feel, shades of Thierry Mugler in strict suiting flashed with patent trim and fold-front jackets, and a general feel, as always, of streamlining. This season, Lagerfeld seemed to streamline the suit into a single coat-dress, an extended peplum becoming substitute skirt over leggings or skinny skinny trousers.
It looked practical, wearable and desirable, in a way Lagerfeld has often missed with his own brand. Maybe that is also because the severe, almost ascetic minimalism Lagerfeld has focussed on for his brand suddenly seems of the moment, clicking in with a general mood for cleanliness. Certainly his suits and coats, toying with tricks of clever buttoning and twisted revers, seemed fresh and exciting. Evening wear, it turned out, was Lagerfeld's canvas for elaboration, and he went all out with embroidery crusting bodices and fading into chiffon skirts worn once more over those latex leggings. A little much, perhaps, but the almost Hellenic simplicity of a plissÃƒÂ© chiffon dress banded with patent leather was the item that really stood out.