Eye on the Runway: Chanel Couture Spring 2013

Karl Lagerfeld often overproduces, and he clearly enjoys indulging in Chanel‘s seemingly limitless budget — a near-mechanical pursuit of the decadence inherent in fashion shows. The fabled city of Atlantis, an Edinburgh castle, and Venice’s cool-lit Lido at sunset have all served as extravagant settings for his fantasy lands. And for spring ’13 couture, Herr Karl brought us deep into a German forest, by way of Paris’ Grand Palais.

Essentially, Lagerfeld was channeling nature, both spatially (with each tree and shrub individually placed — a curated thicket, if you will) and sartorially (a veritable garden of graphic floral prints and embroideries). The sheer amount of Lagerfeld’s work is impressive, from feathered headpieces cascading aside each model’s wisp-tousled hair to dresses in endless (and in fact, quite original) silhouettes, to thigh-high second-skin boots with cutout toes. Despite the leafy milieu, the impression was one of hyper-focus. In fact, this was as focused as we’ve seen him in a good long while.

It wouldn’t be a stretch to call Lagerfeld a god, creating this micro-world with such astute thought and process. In his Bavarian Eden, there were pieces that surely held as much temptation as Eve’s fateful fruit, such as a sequined funnel-shouldered evening coat twinkling with embroideries of stringy petals, like amoebic birds-of-paradise, over a taffeta and black-crystal-trimmed skirt. Lagerfeld closed the show with two hand-holding brides (he traditionally finishes couture with a wedding gown), reportedly as a comment on France’s same-sex marriage controversy. If anyone could master the interplay between the then and now (both environmentally and socially, and forever with the highest standards of beauty) it’s him.

–Nicholas Remsen

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