Is Chanel’s Karl Lagerfeld the leader of the new feminist revolution? Is it a laugh at feminism in general? Or are we dealing with smart marketing?
Without doubt, Chanel knows how to put up a great show. At its latest show at Paris Fashion Week, the Grand Palais was transformed into “Boulevard Chanel”.
With a bouncy tread models walked the paved catwalk ‘street’ in sneakers and flats, wearing wide tweed trousers, comfy pantsuits, oversized ties, combined with sneaker and flats (notable thing: I couldn’t discover the classic 2.55 bag).
Tribute to Coco Chanel
The collection was a tribute to Coco Chanel, who impacted fashion largely with her designs inspired on menswear, making it more convenient for women to work and to work more efficiently. Without knowing it, Coco hereby was a patriarch of increased gender equality and female empowerment.
The finale of the show was a bit different from a traditional fashion show; no line-up, but a messy feminist demonstration instead. As a group, models like Cara Delevingne, Kendall Jenner, Caroline de Maigret, Georgia May Jagger, Kendall Jenner, Lindsey Wixson (love her cute face), Charlotte Free, Joan Smalls and Gisele Bundchen, walked towards the end of the ‘catwalk’.
While they walk to the end, Cara loudly shouts through a megaphone “What do we want?!”, the pack answering with something that sounds like a loud “Me!”, Cara: “When do we want it?”, pack: “Now!”. They hold up up signs displaying texts like “Women’s Rights Are More than Alright,” “Boys Should Get Pregnant Too,” and “He for She,” (a nod to Emma Watson’s speech on gender equality?). Chaka Khan’s “I’m Every Woman” fittingly blared from the speakers.
Emma Watson’s speech on gender inequality at the UN Women’s HeForShe campaign conference
Lately, feminism seems to be more and more on the public agenda. Feminism is becoming more and more mainstream anything’s like the thigh gap, bikini bridge and size zero are receiving more attention than ever. Ten years ago or so, feminists were less open about it. This could have been caused by the typical perceived image of a feminist being a woman with short hair, hairy armpits and more weird prejudices.
Nowadays with examples like Beyoncé, women don’t hide their feminism, but have become very open about it. This resulted in a changed perceived image of a feminist, from the ‘hairy armpits’ into a mainstream/trendy/feminin/[fill in blank] woman.
Feminism protest group Femen crashes the Nina Ricci SS14 fashion show at Paris Fashion Week
GoDaddy’s Superball commercial, in which we see a woman pump up her tanning business
From a marketing point-of-view, feminism even sells; feminism has become trendy. Feminism is cool. Feminism makes headlines. An example is the female empowerment promoting group “Femen”, who took over the Nina Ricci SS14 show. Or actress Emma Watson’s speech on feminism (see above).
Fair enough. Feminism being cool and all can be a targeted, accessible way to acquit girls and (young) women that are interested in fashion, celebrities, models, pop music etc. with female empowerment.
On the other hand: is the message that Lagerfeld sends out with his “Boulevard Chanel” show sincere?
Controversial remarks in the media by Lagerfeld do not speak for him: pretending to be Coco Chanel in an interview with Harper’s Bazaar, Karl said that Coco Chanel wasn’t a feminist because she “wasn’t ugly enough”. In a Q&A in free newspaper METRO that Lagerfeld guest edit, the Chanel designer stated that Adele would be “a little too fat” (Lagerfeld tells Vogue this statement was taken out of context) and “I don’t like the sister’s face. She should only show her back” is what Lagerfeld stated about Pippa Middleton.
Although these are no more than opinions (and of course what the media presents us, no more, no less), these statements aren’t very female friendly and make me confused about how Lagerfeld is involved with feminism and women’s rights.
Could the current craze around feminism and its value to marketing be the reason for Karl’s decision to put up a feminism demonstration during his show? Is it just for a laugh? A laugh at feminism general? The feminism ‘craze’? Dealing with humor with the ‘subculture of feminists’? Is it a smart marketing tool? Or is Karl Lagerfeld really concerned with female empowerment and women’s rights?
What do you think?
You decide. Leave your opinion in the comments below, it will be much appreciated. Thank you!
Ps: by no means I meant to hurt anyone’s feelings with this article, nor have I meant to label people. I am just sharing my personal opinion.