Chanel Couture Spring 2013

Chanel Haute Couture Spring 2013

Chanel Couture Spring 2013

Traditionally, we look to flowers in bloom, foliage, and the prettiest kinds of dresses for Spring: Karl Lagerfeld does that, too, but we don't get all the trappings of tradition without Lagerfeld's eye for edgier nuance and modernized femininity. For Chanel's Spring Couture, Lagerfeld transformed the Grand Palais in the heart of Paris into a private forest. Models stepped out onto a runway that resembled a hidden pathway, dotted with moss and greenery, making Lagerfeld's foray into Spring territory all the more authentic — and all the more lush. Gauzy, plush layers finished with feathered hemlines, floral appliqués, and pleated tiers gave dresses, both short and floor-length, a whimsical touch that Lagerfeld countered with straight off-the shoulder necklines and again in accessories. Never leaning too far toward romance or toward looking too far ahead to something entirely unfamiliar, the collection balances vintage-inspired silhouettes — ladylike elbow-length sleeves and gloves, Chanel's tweedy finishes, and a black, white, and navy palette — with lace and metallic thigh-high open-toe boots. It's very much about the neckline — attention must be paid to the layered off-the-shoulder cuts exposing yet another layer or the halter necklines revealing the collarbone and shoulders. And even when Lagerfeld delivers Spring bridal wear, he can't help but play with tradition — and not just because his two brides may be construed as a nod to same-sex marriage — but with a wedding dress done up in creamy white feathers and finished in layers of dreamy tulle. He marries the strong and soft — and makes us weak in the knees with every floaty hemline and every expertly crafted detail that results. Click through to see the collection in its entirety.

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