Great Outfits in Fashion History: Florence Welch as a Chanel Mermaid

She rose like "The Birth of Venus" in the middle of an all-time great Chanel show.
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Florence Welch performing at the Chanel Spring 2012 show.

Florence Welch performing at the Chanel Spring 2012 show.

There are perfectly good celebrity style moments, and then there are the looks that really stick with you, the ones you try desperately to recreate at home. In 'Great Outfits in Fashion History,' Fashionista editors are revisiting their all-time favorite lewks.

In my last entry for "Great Outfits," I discussed the fact that every fashion fan has a collection they haven't stopped thinking about since it hit the runway. But there are also the runways you can't stop thinking about, the rare presentation that hits high marks from the moment the lights go up until the designer takes their bow. Oh, what's that? You need an example? I gotchu: Chanel Spring 2012.

Not only is it one of my favorite Karl Lagerfeld-helmed collections of all time, the runway itself was absolutely stunning. Working from the pearl-bedecked clothing and accessories, the French brand created an underwater paradise inside the Grand Palais. Models wove through a seascape of coral, bleached out in all white, entering the runway through a bubble-covered tunnel. 

Near the exit was a white seashell, which opened near the end to reveal none other than Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine, emerging like Botticelli's "The Birth of Venus" to sing her then-new single "What the Water Gave Me." It still, to this day, gives me chills.

Lagerfeld and Chanel dressed Welch in an embellished top and skirt for the occasion, playing with size and placement of the pearlescent white sequins to mimic fish scales. Both pieces featured trailing fringe in black and white, paired with matching sandals.

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The fiery-red shock of Welch's hair played perfectly against the stark white backdrop, turning her into a sequined mermaid in Chanel's sea. The beauty team drove the point home by layering a few of the brand's cream eye shadows (which I went out and bought, like, the next day) and finishing the look with blush-nude lips. 

I'm still trolling The RealReal for pieces from this collection, but in the meantime, I'll keep stacking on pearls to mimic the feel of the runway. Join me, won't you?

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