The Chanel brand is a bit like Nike at the moment. So perfectly positioned in terms of assortment, marketing and distribution it’s very much in control of its own destiny, picking and choosing where and how it’s sold and raising prices as it sees fit without seeing an ounce of resistance. The runway presentations are all part of the marketing machine. What is shown on them may or may not end up at retail, really more they’re part of the Chanel-mystique-building machine with Karl Lagerfeld the puppet master and all of in the fashion press, his slavish subjects.
Within the context of further raising the profile of the brand, the label’s ready-to-wear presentation for Spring 2015 didn’t disappoint and was a continuation of the merry extravaganzas we have come to expect from Lagerfeld. Staged within the Grand Palais in Paris and themed around the street protest, the runway and backdrop was constructed with the precision of an expensive movie set to mimic the look of an actual city street, in this case named Boulevard Chanel. Models started the show in typical fashion but finished with a finale that was staged as a street protest with models shouting and chanting as lead by Cara Delevingne, a born street urchin and provocateur who was made for the role.
When Lagerfeld commented on the Spring 2015 runway, he spoke of his appreciation for the street protest and gave nods to his mother, who he described as a feminist. In general terms most pro-women activists are fighting for equal treatment and opportunities. To the victor belong the spoils and for many women who achieve modicums of equality, it often is discovered that said freedom translates to a heightened exposure to reality, and all its accompanying joys, sorrows and sometimes glaring exposures. It’s appropriate then the show ‘s backdrop was one meant to mimic a real world scene set outdoors.
The Chanel reality journey began with the Autumn 2014 presentation, which recreated a supermarket, including product-filled shelves, shopping baskets and carts. For Spring 2015, the label upped the ante, creating a very real-feeling street that included uneven pavement, puddles, manholes and metal police barricades. And it wasn’t just the backdrop, the models themselves wore fashion that reflected a multi-generational style sensibility. Thus, bags ranged from small and mod and featured cute sayings and the label’s famous inter-locking C logo to large carry-all canvas bags inspired by the hippy era.
Critical to feminist realness is the importance of receiving compensation for one’s efforts and in a reflection of that reality, the show was themed around business appropriate looks like trousers, jackets and dresses that without all the added Chanel frou-frou and finery couldn’t have been cut more sensibly. So now, between Autumn with its gym time clothing and Spring with its office work offerings, the women who works for her money–and what could be more feminist–has all her needs covered.