"Versailles in socialist France," was Karl Lagerfeld's summarisation of Chanel's 2013 croisière collection. Thanks to current affairs, the broader context was a lavish Chanel presentation in socialist France, due to the inauguration of the country's 24th president, François Hollande. The work that Lagerfeld, Lady Amanda Harlech and the Chanel ateliers had been working on long before the national election had been granted another layer of meaning. Coco Chanel herself said that fashion was born upon the wind but here the climate was pre-empted: it doesn't get much more topical than that.
Lagerfeld's Versailles had more of Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette about it, all pastel colours and megalolz; a cool and impish take on regality. Each look was kept down-to-earth with a version of creepers, dresses designed for a ball paired with shoes for dancing rowdily all night in. Plus the beachwear you'd expect, given the name of the collection, which goes into stores between A/W12 and S/S13, ready for christmas and new year somewhere tropical. After all, every modern Marie takes her spell in the sun.
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