Chanel Haute Couture Spring / Summer 2013
Karl Lagerfeld + black and white = the perfect combination, which is why this season's Chanel Haute Couture collection was such a hit from the start. The designer barely strayed from a greyscale colour palette in the early pieces, offering plenty of the tweedy suits and single-breasted jackets that are Chanel Couture's bread and butter.
But later the black and white was broken up with floral embroidery in pops of pink and green, pale lilac chiffons and lots of coloured sequins. That's when it got really interesting. After plenty of seasons where colour has been 'the thing' and the Chanel couture shows have been surprisingly conceptual and clean, this season Karl looked like he wanted to have more fun, opting for piles of feathers, heavy-handed florals and loads of over the top looks.
One thing Kaiser Karl didn't do was pick an era and stick to it. There were turn-of-the-century looks that wouldn't be out of place in early episodes of Downton Abbey, next to floor-length floral numbers straight out of the 30s. Lace and crochet gave us a tiny touch of the 70s hippy, while high collar shift dresses with white plackets had a mod 60s vibe.
The actual concept was more obvious in the playful use of texture, the woodland setting with atmospheric chirping birds (watch the video below), the piled-on flowers and fluffy feathers, and the bird-like hair and makeup. Chanel's couture girl is a modern day Titania, a woodland fairy with a playful spirit, and her clothes are inspired by the nature that surrounds her.