Chanel’s latest collection should thrill anyone who wished that the frothy debauchery and spectacular period costuming of Sofia Coppola’s cult film Marie Antoinette had matched its soundtrack’s scruffy subversity. For the house’s Resort 2012 line, impresario Karl Lagerfeld swapped the brand’s prim and minimalist palette for candy-hued splendor with a touch of violence. Calling the collection “Versailles in a Socialist France,” Lagerfeld simultaneously celebrated and deconstructed the royal myth by placing its trappings into a world where pastel-coiffed pop stars were having a moment. On the runway, though, there was still a shock appeal to be found in pairing pearls with pink hair, keeping the haute-punk effect alive. Fashion’s premiere sound architect, Michel Gaubert, furthered the youthful angst with spiky, empowered selections like M.I.A.‘s “Bad Girls.”
While the vaguely Gothic Lolita styling seemed to be in direct response to pop’s current maximalism, the clothes themselves bore most of the usual hallmarks of Chanel – fabulous tweeds, denims, twinsets and those jaunty, two-tone tailored jackets we wish real-life pop stars did wear. The look that stood out most was a wondrous sugar-spun creation: a cascading, weightless silk dress made of every color of a cotton-candy rainbow. It was displayed on a model who flaunted a blunt bobbed wig the hue of ice, heavily markered brows and blue platform sneakers; the whole look suggested the uniform for a futuristic pop queen who doesn’t quite exist yet.