Under the sea of Chanel

There was no need to guess which of the elements was inspiring Karl Lagerfeld for spring 2012: that much was evident in the giant coral and clam shell props that turned the Chanel stage into an underwater paradise. For the most part, though, this wasn’t one of the more detail-heavy collections of Karl’s. It was the influx of pure white and pastel pieces in clean structures that were in fact the most elegantly understated – from shift-style dresses to pristine white bikinis. Later on the addition of pouffy sleeves, frills and embellishments gave the pieces a far more girlish, little mermaid sentiment.

The most fitting element throughout the show was the use of pearls – a Chanel standard if ever there was one – only this time repurposed from the long necklace strands into waist belts and hair accessories. A few pearls scattered through a wet-look hairstyle, and even dotted strategically on the face, helped give the impression that the models were underwater fixtures themselves.

This season Karl Lagerfeld produced a collection that gently nudged towards upcoming 2012 trends – like hints of 1920‘s drop waists and the inklings of vintage swimwear – but it was still firmly rooted in the classic Chanel fare. This is a spring the fashion house’s clientele will be happy to indulge in, even if it’s geared less towards influencing the season and more towards a solid use of theming.

Click on the gallery above to view the full Chanel spring 2012 collection.