Monday, October 6, 2014

Chanel Spring 2015: A call for a cause or a call for attention

When the Chanel models took to the asbestos streets at Palais de Tokyo at the Paris Fashion Week, their choice of cry for protesting was feminism. But is it really embodying feminism? 
Ever since I saw the show, complete with its theatrics of eyebrow maven Cara Delevingne taking to protesting against inequality between men and women into a Chanel megaphone, I have been slightly perturbed by the nature of these theatrics. Now I am not someone who studied gender deeply, but with a basic understanding of gender and law and what really entails feminism, this feeble attempt by Karl Lagerfeld to make Chanel ready-to-wear a part of second wave feminism missed the mark. His idea as I read on was simple, "my mother was a feminist, and I was brought up with a history of that." Completing his thought, given how 'cool' the concept of being feminist has become in this day and age where every average woman without a real understanding of the issues with gender norms or gender inequality, claims to be a feminist, it seemed like the right vendable move. Are we, in the process, over simplifying feminism? In my opinion, yes. Do beautifully tailored pant suits on typically beautiful models suffice to carry forward the desired message of feminism? Probably not. The idea of feminism in sartorial choices is wonderful except I failed to see anything that had not been said before. Women have been taking to pant suits like fish to water since the late '60s ever since the induction of this androgynous piece of clothing in our wardrobes. The collection highlighted khaki, tweed with a hint of psychedelic, pin-striped with a lacquered sheen, skirt suits with lacey blouses, leather stripped dresses and knitted sweater dresses. The collection was on point with the luxurious use of fabrics and bringing a whole bag of elegant to the table. But do slogans on the lines of 'Be different', 'free freedom', 'history is her story', 'women's rights are more than alright', really convey the essence of this zeitgeist called 'feminism? Why are we lapping up everything that is the current politically correct flavour of the season, in this case feminism? 
A creative director known for having called Adele, 'a little too fat' preaching a feeble sermon of feminism to the fashion world and the world at large is resounding hollow and downright fallacious.
We all love a little drama on the runway but this is when we ask ourselves the larger question? Should the drama ever overpower the clothes? 
I believe that fashion has the power to be a purveyor of great social and political messages. I do also believe that a surreptitiously worded slogan hinting at some kind of equality between men and women does not create an impact that a cause like this deserves.
Sorry Karl, this Boulevard of Chanel did not create the fashion Bastille that you hoped it would.



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