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Fake Feminism Walks the Runway At Chanel

Copyright: www.stylebubble.co.uk

Copyright: www.stylebubble.co.uk

Sammy Jones has been reading about the Chanel Spring/Summer show and she’s confused. Is Karl Lagerfeld finally bringing feminism to the mainstream, or is he profiteering from it?

…is Karl Lagerfeld making a mockery of hundreds of years of suffering and suffragettes…?

Chanel’s Spring/Summer 2015 Paris show managed to both delight and slight the fashion world in equal measure. Blogs and columns have stacked up as far as the eye can see as opinions on the faux-feminist march make their way around the globe in the form of Instagrams, Vines and outraged tweets.

Meg at Lips So Facto tweet

But is Karl Lagerfeld making a mockery of hundreds of years of suffering and suffragettes, or is he really trying to spread the good word of gender equality?

Style blogger Susie Bubble (a self-proclaimed Chanel devotee) felt uneasy about the issue, calling out Lagerfeld for courting controversy and using the very real struggle of women to put Chanel in the middle of a ill-gained social media frenzy. Her tribe of super-trendy followers also felt the show was in poor taste, with user Lounawt summing up general opinion with the comment: ‘it’s the bourgeoisie dressed up as the proletariat’.

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‘watered-down interpretation of gender equality’

She wasn’t the only one disturbed by the show’s disingenuousness. Meredith Graves of Perfect Pussy writes that Chanel’s cast of mainly white models (seventy-three of the eighty-five shown) contributes to ‘the erasure’ of voices from women of colour. Mainstream feminism has a habit of forgetting that the best work we can do in defeating inequality comes from the mouths of people with a diverse backgrounds: unfortunately Lagerfeld’s vision of feminism also did just that.

Feminism shouldn’t have one mouthpiece, and by limiting the movement to only one kind of woman’s insights, it impedes feminism’s progress and excludes diverse women from a cultural shift that should be all about diverse women. Graves recommends ‘Ayesha A. SiddiqiBlack Girl Dangerous, and Sydette Harryamongst others‘ as ‘the writers doing the best, most important, and revolutionary work on the subject of feminism right now’.

Copyright: www.interruptmag.com

Copyright: www.interruptmag.com

Feminism might be at the tip of everyone’s tongue right now, but it mustn’t become sheer trendiness.

So what do I think? I think the huge expense involved makes it feel wrong. As a man who called Adele fat, walked Native American headdresses down the catwalk last year and said that Pippa Middleton ‘should only show her back’, Lagerfeld cares more, it would seem, about his profit margins than any sort of genuine protest. The lack of follow-up information or agendas to the show blatantly communicates how shallow it actually is, and how trivial it must seem to the fashion house to trivialise female inequality.

Feminism might be at the tip of everyone’s tongue right now, but it mustn’t become sheer trendiness. Massive issues that might take generations to solve (the pay gap, women in STEM, reproductive rights…) won’t be changed when a stunt like this will brush the issues it inspires under the carpet as soon as the initial hubbub dies down. Speaking to Fashionista about the show Lagerfeld said: ‘I couldn’t care less if people are for or against. It’s my idea. I like the idea of feminism being something light-hearted’. Cheers Karl, never thought you cared (and you obviously don’t). No wonder there’s no sign of any conceptual opinion on the pro side of this debate.

Feminism might be at the tip of everyone’s tongue right now, but it mustn’t become sheer trendiness.

The only upside I can think of is the stereotype of all feminists being hemp-wearing bra-burners is being thrown on its head. Women should be able to wear whatever they want (god knows I love a bit of slap) and be able to stand up for their rights as equals to men as they wear it. Of course, and that even means wearing a bit of Chanel if they flippin’ well please- but after this fiasco, I’d rather wear a onesie to tea with the Queen before I’d buy anything from this fashion house that will use anything to make sure they put the ‘gross’ into ‘gross profit’.

Do you have an opinion on Kaiser Karl’s treatment of feminism on the runway? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook