Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Karl Lagerfeld's last Chanel couture collection, shown in January, was a masterful all-white affair. Remember those hats made of paper? The only problem with having set the bar so high would prove to be clearing it again this season.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

And he didn't quite make it.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Lagerfeld's most consistent gesture was a play on proportions. Far too many of the offerings had short hems coupled with long, trailing back panels — an extreme take on the fishtail hem that manages to combine the body anxieties of the mini with the wearability problems of the train.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

I feel like Michael Kors telling Daniel Vosovic "I just wanted to rip that little tab right off!" Sensibly, this back panel appears to be attached with buttons. (Although who wants to sit with two rows of buttons down her back beats me.)

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Karl Lagerfeld told Times critic Cathy Horyn that he felt long dresses were insufficiently younthful.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

The collection was mostly done in dark colors, with red as an accent throughout, and splashes of hot pink.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Where the designer relaxed his idée fixe into a gentler, fishtail hem shape, the results were more successful.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

This chiffon dress, like the one before it, for example, look beautiful and modern.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Although that wasn't the case for this fishtail offering. A fur-edged sequined yoke? Really?

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Another solid move was to play with the hem length by setting it askew — this spiral-cut black and red dress is absolutely stunning.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Yet this dress works with the exact same shape, and the level of embellishment overwhelms.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

At times, the collection had an overt arts & crafts feel. That cape looks like an afghan throw someone's Grandma would crochet — although I think mine would pick better colors.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Several of the dresses in this tranche had a very grainy, 1970s feel.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

One looked new in all the wrong, spangled ways.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

And one? Looked like it was made out of the Lorax.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Even the suits, Chanel's signature item and ordinarily something Lagerfeld brings a lot to, were very hit...

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

...and miss.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

And miss again! Red bouclé, leopard print, and black lace tights are far too many colors and textures to mash together.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

There was one lovely, diaphanous beige chiffon dress with an asymmetric hem that didn't feel as aggressive as some of the others.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Of course, the downside of beige chiffon is that you can look naked.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

The show was held at the imposing Grand Palais. In case you can't tell, those are giant, white Chanel No. 5 bottles on the set.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

I totally want the black cut-out dress the woman on the right is wearing. Also, who knew Danielle Steele, center, attended the couture shows?

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Perhaps she was after a little sparkler like this one? (Which, on a dark street corner, could easily be mistaken for Balmain.) Still, it's very nice to see a collection presented with sensible, beautiful footwear, instead of 7" platform shoes.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

Incidentally, when Lagerfeld did give in and go long, even with a range of transparencies as here, the results were often quite lovely.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

This one, too, is gorgeous.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

And so is this one, although it may be the kind of thing that, if worn by Chanel's celeb clientele, would set tabloids a-muttering about a baby bump.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

And this long one sort of looks like shiny, busy widow's weeds.

Chanel Haute Couture An Expensive Hit & MissS

For the finale, Lara Stone emerged in a fishtail wedding dress, arm-in-arm with Baptiste Giabiconi. (Brad Koenig is probably crying into a silk shirt somewhere.)