Chanel Oberlin, the evil overlord of Kappa Kappa Tau, confirmed her serious case of sartorial addiction in episode three of Scream Queens, the Monday night teens-at-college story with all the usual stuff such as love, friendship and serial killers. Finding her lesser minion Hester drooling over her impressive clothing collections, she responded to the infraction by spitting, with considerable venom: “This closet is the most precious thing in my life. It’s like a second vagina to me.”
This could be recognised as a pretty typical Scream Queens quip – bratty, to the point, and just a little bit … a lot. But Chanel’s love of fashion – and the succession of amazing outfits jam-packed into each episode – is endearing fashion to her as is the properly pop culture-literate dialogue that references everything from Serial to Elon Musk. For the first time since Blair Waldorf, fashion has a prime-time teen queen bee. A knowledge of those one liners will soon be as highly prized as a pair of Gucci backless loafers.
As will anything that nods to her wardrobe. The look of the Chanels – the Heathers-like name of the sorority sisters known by number only (Chanels 2-6) that Emma Roberts’ character rules with a manicured fist – is unapologetically ridiculous, girly and wholly unsuited to tasks such as hauling a dead body into a meat freezer. Think of it as Clueless 2.0 with added psychopath subplot.
Pastels, then, are essential. Chanel herself is rarely seen out of pale pink, ice blue (to match her heart), pistachio green and vanilla cream. Her minions follow suit, as does the golf-obsessed gang of her on-off boyfriend, the exceedingly – and excellently – dim Chad Radwell. The Pantone colour combo of pastel pink and blue owes a lot to Chanel’s sartorial directive. Marabou comes as standard, or any kind of fluff. On outerwear or accessories, more is more is the rule of thumb.
At the risk of incurring an eyeroll from Chanel, some other characters are worth a look. Obviously NO ONE should pay any attention to Grace, with her Guy Ritchie-style baker-boy hats and tweed jackets, whose only function is to move the plot along occasionally. Instead, see Chanel No 3 who, with her dead-behind-the-eyes stare, does a nice line in fluffy earmuffs, an accessory forced upon her by an ex-boyfriend who threatens to cut off her ears.
And then there’s Chanel No 5, as played by Abigail Breslin. Along with the best name, she also boasts an impressive collection of Insta-worthy slogan T-shirts, sequin pencil skirts and open-toed sandals that are just the thing for walking around a Shining-style snow maze.
An honourable mention goes to ZayDay, now co-president of Kappa. Her current “triumph” might make her a pawn in Chanel’s masterplan, but her hat, complete with cat-like pom-pom ears, is pretty awesome. Really, though, Chanel reigns supreme in Scream Queens. To paraphrase another of her classic lines, we are totally blowing a compliment up her butt, but – when it comes to style – it’s much-deserved.