A Co-opted Faux-Feminist March

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Karl Lagerfeld has clearly been looking at footage from feminism’s second wave for inspiration—but to what end?

The Spring 2015 Chanel collection he showed in Paris today consisted of boxy tweed pantsuits, oversized ties, albeit in a very recent psychedelic, watercolor motif.(He transitioned from there through the late 70’s and into the early 80’s, presenting his take on the power silhouette of that era.)

All this is fine; if Lagerfeld wanted to present a new/old take on the working woman, fine, great, excellent. But by the finale, it leaves a bad taste: all the models emerged carrying picket signs in an approximation of a feminist protest, with Lagerfeld in the lead (side-eyyyye).

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The messages are all very confused, and confusing, which gives the impression that Lagerfeld’s notion towards woman empowerment was merely gestural, or that he was responding to what he perceives as a trend, something that was written about while he was designing this. Perhaps he was inspired by the FEMEN activists who stormed the Nina Ricci runway last year. but the messages on the signs seem like his grasp of the women he likely studied to create this collection is surface, at best. “Feministe Means Feminine”? What does that even mean? “Free Freedom”? Bold stance, Karl. “Tweed is better than Tweet?” Also: why is his feminist vision SO FUCKING WHITE?! I get the tenuous connection between the designs for his Spring 2015 collection, which was basically his take on fashion for working women, and the second wave feminist movement, I GUESS, but come on. This is so dumb it hurts my eyes to look at.

It’s not like fashion can’t be feminist, or that there aren’t prominent and self-proclaimed feminist designers like Miuccia Prada, Tory Burch, and Rodarte’s Mulleavy sisters who infuse a feminist outlook into their every collection. It’s also not like I would ever regulate how people practice feminism, or how people come into it, or shame anyone who is new to it and just learning: women need all the help we can get. But the tone of this Chanel show seems cynical, money-grabbing, slightly empty, a co-opted Faux-Feminist March.

Stay flawless not fake,

Ms. Femme.

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