Chanel Spring 2012 Review

Chanel Spring 2012

Photos: Imaxtree

Looks from the Chanel Spring 2012 show

Show: Chanel

Hair: Sam McKnight

Makeup: Peter Phillips

Accessories: Conch shell clutches, flat ankle boots in metallic leather, pearls perched across faces and hair

Overall takeaway: Karl Lagerfeld: fashion's own Neptune

The oceans deep have been something of a recurrent theme for Spring '12. Trust Chanel's Karl Lagerfeld to squeeze every last drop out of the idea, unleashing a mind-boggling 80-plus outfits onto a pearly-white subterranean set, each and every one redolent of the beautiful, briny sea.

But what outfits. Lagerfeld used every skill of the Chanel ateliers to reproduce the treasures of the world's oceans, from coral-embroidered minidresses to guipure seaweed-encrusted panniers to the pearls, bubbling over pastel tweed suits and even across the face and hair of his mermaid models. Well, Lagerfeld held back on the mermaid—but he did have Florence Welch of Florence and the Machine dressed in ripples of chiffon and singing live atop a giant conch shell. You couldn't make up a vision like that.

Despite the attention-grabbing sets—both Welch's, and the gargantuan Chanel waterworld erected in the Grand Palais—the focus was firmly on the clothes. As ever, Lagerfeld reworked the Chanel suit in a myriad of options, this time with a loose, easy jacket and knee-length skirt gently gathered into a waistband, puckered like the surface of a shell. Shells also provided the color palette of palest pink, delicate blue, sea green, chalky ivory, and white.