Designers / Fashion Show / Industry News

OpEd: Chanel’s “Feminist” Rally

By Thomas Shockman

Sources: StyleBubble.co.uk, style.com, vogue.com. theguardian.com

Chanel Protest

Karl Lagerfeld recently showed his latest collection for French fashion house Chanel. The show featured an array of bright tweeds, psychedelic colors and metallic blocked dresses, but the real point of interest in the show was the finale. After each model had traversed “Boulevard Chanel,” a brief quiet settled on the crowd. Then came Cara Delevingne, shouting into a megaphone, starting a mock protest. She was followed by her fellow models and Lagerfeld himself. The protest seemed to be a feminist rally, with models sporting signs that portrayed such sayings as “History is Her Story,” “Boys Should Get Pregnant Too,” and “Be Different.”

Though some will commend Lagerfeld for getting people to talk more about feminism, the protest reeked of disingenuousness, hypocrisy and blatant commercialism. It is hard to believe that Lagerfeld is all that sincere about equality for women when he has famously called singer Adele “a little too fat” and overwhelmingly casts rail-thin white models in his shows. The models should have made Lagerfeld’s intentions a bit more clear by shouting, “equality for all women, as long as they are tall, skinny, white, and buy Chanel!” The protest mocked those who are truly fighting for the cause of equal rights for women and men (and those attempting to instigate any social change) by dressing up the privileged as the oppressed and using the message of the oppressed to sell more handbags and clothes. If Lagerfeld truly wanted to make a difference with regards to inequalities for women in the fashion world and beyond he would send more models of color down the runway, he would feature more plus sized women in his shows, and he would embrace all women, not just the stereotypical model types. Lagerfeld did nothing but belittle the current protests and movements going on right now (not the least of which being the student-led Occupy Central rallies going on in Hong Kong) in order to increase Chanel’s sales. His show was a mockery and a disgrace to the social justice movement.

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