The Chanel show is always the most anticipated moment of Paris Fashion Week, so finding new ideas to wow audiences (and trend on social media) must be a constant head-scratcher for creative director Karl Lagerfeld.
Two years ago, the designer decided to endorse marriage equality and closed his couture show with two brides holding hands. The move was a beautiful tribute to same-sex love, though an odd one coming from a man who once spoke against gay marriage. But as the French say rudely, "Il n'y a que les cons qui ne changent pas d'avis" ("Only assholes never change their mind").
So when the designer staged a feminist fashion show for spring 2015, we rose a suspiscious eyebrow. Lesbian model Cara Delevingne opened the collection, which was an elegant take on "working girl" fashion: tweed pantsuits, flat shoes, and colorful '70s prints. It was a nod to the French feminist movement of the late '60s, the beginning of women's emancipation. For the show finale, the cast resurfaced and staged a mock demonstration --right on trend with the current political climate in France.
While Delevingne shouted out a confusing slogan ("What do we want?" "-Tweed!" "When do we want it?' "-Now!") into a megaphone adorned in padded lambskin, other models bore banners with such inspiring quotes as "Be Your Own Stylist," "Free Freedom," and "Make Fashion Not War" and marched to Chaka Khan's I'm Every Woman. Another banner read "Feminist but feminine," as if one prevents the other. The intention was good, but the message got lost. Where is the feminist statement there? Empowering women to make them spend more money on expensive clothes? And so much for equality, it should also be noted that among the cast of eighty models, only four were women of color. Let's change the Chanel!