White Album

When designers have had enough of fluorescent brights and earthy neutrals, they tend to turn away from the color wheel

Call it a cleansing of the palette or just a knee-jerk reaction to the kaleidoscopic colors of seasons past. For spring the "it" shade is no shade at all—or a total whiteout. Designers like Ralph Lauren whitewashed their runways with head-to-toe looks evoking a sojourn in a tropical climate. Even accessories, like Chanel's white-hot ceramic J12 watch and Hermès' new soft, foldable Kelly bag, are getting the bleach treatment. If the upkeep of a crisp white wardrobe becomes an issue, there's always the home-décor route. B&B Italia's Tufty-Time leather sofa and trendy Belgium-based Studio Job's ornate porcelain plates will instantly freshen...

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