Chanel Spring 2012 Couture Review

Chanel Spring 2012 Couture runway

Photos: Imaxtree

Looks from the Chanel Spring 2012 Couture runway.

SHOW: Chanel (See the full collection.)

THEME: Flying the chicest skies

HAIR: Sam McKnight

MAKE-UP: Peter Philips

ACCESSORIES: Ankle-strapped stilettos, flower-crusted headpieces

OVERALL TAKE-AWAY: Nothing old, lots of new, a little looked borrowed, everything blue

The news that Karl Lagerfeld used no less than 150 shades of blue in his spring Chanel Haute Couture collection quickly whizzed around the blogosphere.

Dresses seamlessly degraded from palest azure to midnight navy—the exact effect, in fact, of a high-altitude sky—hence the fact we perched in a facsimile of a jet-plane for this show. The only question this rhapsody in blue raised was: just 150?! It felt like a million which, surprisingly enough, isn't a criticism.

If the little black dress was Coco Chanel's keynote item, for Karl Lagerfeld it is blue jeans: His contemporary Yves Saint Laurent once stated "I wish I had invented blue jeans. They have expression, modesty, sex appeal, simplicity—all I hope for in my clothes."

That's a neat summary of what Lagerfeld achieved in this show, a collection that had all the mind-boggling technical achievements that are traditionally the remit of haute couture but coupled with a comfort and nonchalance that spoke distinctly of the twenty-first century. Tweeds were unraveled, their individual fibers stitched to silk tulle as if the fabric itself were disintegrating. Ripped jeans in haute couture? When they're done like this, they make perfect sense.

The standout, however, was the evening wear: a knee-length wedding dress whizzed by like the Concorde, while another dress encrusted with peacock-color paillettes from collarbone to hem slouched along with the model's hands thrust in two jean-style pockets at the front. Haute, but not haughty.