Karl Lagerfeld’s Final Collection Visits Niagara Falls

Photographer Landon Nordeman orchestrated a pop‑up fashion shoot among tourists enjoying the iconic, kitsch‑laden wonders of Niagara Falls. In collaboration with Canadian poet Kaie Kellough, Nordeman has created a style novella that is part documentary, part fairy tale.

camp & splendor

i.

frozen in its noon      the sun
beats in the slow niagara foam   the border
underwater, invisible, is ignored by shoaling salmon, trout, doré -
prisms speckle the sky, ultraviolet spectrums arc from one
        empire to the other
      marriott logos flutter
        a cloud of tourists roams      sky a cerulean mirror
look away         pause
blink back      a misted instagram filter
veils, unveils this splendor

September 1, 2019
A blond woman in profile stands in front of a tower in the Niagara Falls area wearing a houndstooth Chanel coat.
A blond woman stands in a Bell telephone booth in the town of Niagara Falls.

ii.

rain slicks the lens   blurs the image
the image is who   is in it         is who is
cropped from it, out of the frame      is the image
what these words is      not saying?      is it wordless         is it
a lyric gloss over the everyday     rain slicks the focus
      outside the frame is
         what?
what the tourists overlook in their ease, is what they wear at leisure, is
a salmon         a pink plastic rain wrap         waterproofing sightseers
against the confetti scattering down from the champagne         froth over the local waiter
the ticket
takers, chamber maids         whose labor weds this motel city
to the national imaginary

A woman stands in a red rain slicker in front of a crowd of people wearing yellow slickers, with Niagara Falls in the background.
A woman in a red rain slicker stands in front of Niagara falls with people in yellow slickers behind her.
A woman wearing a red rain slickers stands holding the clear hood of her slicker with Niagara Falls in the background

iii.

the poem, treacherous as water, soaks into the page
its invisible thinking infiltrates      the infrastructure of the image
with a question: if everything is priced, is glossed
is the reflective surface we stare into, expecting, perhaps, to see
some ideal valuation of ourselves peering back from between
sheer curtains cascading to the motel room's walnut
         carpet, next to a no smoking sticker on the azure      door, the wood-paneled station
   wagon parked at a nostalgic angle      are we also
         rusting in the sun
oxidized by the passage of -

A woman in a hot pink suit stands in front of a bowling alley, holding hands with three younger people all wearing the same shade of pink, but with their backs to the camera.

iv.

in the rippled lens of a swimming pool   glamour sinks, distorted
by water and light      as bubbles
wobble under, wobble to the surface   to burst, to breathe
      a phone booth open      the dangling
receiver listless as a slack drowned mouth
   inhaling water      next to a river of concrete
            the white noise of engines idling

View on YouTube

v.

one finger points up toward the space needle
the needle threading cloud with its intention, its ambition, the needle
threading the eye      the gleaming point      piercing the red and white slats of tourist toy sunglasses
      made by someone, bought by someone, sold by some
blind patriot?      who celebrates nation      seizing nature
   whose
economy drones over these rocks      in a shower of spray – the attraction
sluicing under      over the border      water's tariffs paid
   by its transparent skin

vi.

at the border between being
local and being     water. leisure    and dollar. between being
   wet and being wrapped. plastic      and free between
being      background and being a teardrop-
red fingernail pointing up to the blonde
   noon scattering into crystal prisms      champagne effervescence
stinging
   mosquitoes, mist

A blond woman stands in the centre of two older male photographers who are focusing their cameras on other things, in the midst of an indoor jungle scene with lots of plants.

vii.

if you could pluck light from the sky, buff its glow on your sleeve
   take a ripe bite before it dissolves   before it leaves
      a cloud dripping between your fingers, which      dries into a
burnt-orange leaf that curls in your palm   flatten the leaf between the pages of a coffee table book
about niagara's camp and splendor   the leaf   inserted between an aerial
photo of the falls      and an elvis impersonator      you wave the leaf
            at the intersection of poem
and commodity      a vision of drowned glamour surfacing behind
a window and      you,

A woman with her back to the camera lifts her long blond hair. She wears a white dress and stands in a public garden.

viii.

staring into the gloss      is you, contemplating the line between nationalism
and commerce         the slanting rhyme where glamour abrades
      against nowhere      the border churning between
   onguiaahra and   tourists wrapped in pink plastic
inheritance aligned with conquest   history dissolved into -

A blond woman stands in the foreground in a white dress, with a hand entering the frame from the right, while in the background a toddler pushes a stroller in front of a fountain.

ix.

volume
   the past thunders through a dangling receiver in a bell booth by an asphalt river   a language that predates our own
         nobody
walks into the booth   holds the receiver, like a conch to their ear
   stands, transfixed by the ancient grammar   voices inside the roar

                              hangs up

A blond woman sits in a dark motel room and looks at a painting on a wall.

Beauty – Julie Cusson, Makeup Artist for CHANEL; Styling – Corey Ng; Model – Malie (Another Species); Clothing – CHANEL Fall-Winter 2019/20 Ready-to-Wear Collection

Special thanks to CHANEL and BMW.

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