I wish I could say that Karl Lagerfeld’s Biennale wowed me. The Syndicat National des Antiquaires promised an unforgettable show, which they did deliver but not because of Karl but becaus of Picasso and Chagall and Miro. The decor was restrained but chic, just like the French, and the hot air balloon that was promised as a centerpiece wasn’t so impressive. However this was perfect as each booth, once you walked inside the boutique like space, was an explosion of color and art worth any great museum. In the mix was the best paintings, furniture, and jewelry from antiquity to the present day. It’s hard to choose a favorite although the crowd pleasers seemed to be jewelry houses like Cartier, Bulgari, Van Cleef and Arpels who all had lines of people waiting to visit their “boutiques” to worship their diamonds. Chanel was the most interesting, naturally, recreating the 1932 jewelry exhibition that Coco held at her shop at 29 rue Faubourg-Saint-Honore. Overall with a location like the Grand Palais and some of the best galleries in the world showing their most valuable work, it wasn’t necessary to attach a big name to the show. It was impressive without Karl which is why it’s disappointing that he didn’t do more to make it a real spectacle. Although maybe that was his point all along.